Why Boston Hosting The 2024 Olympics Is A Horrible Idea

Billions of dollars down the drain? Many think so. Here's why.

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

Although San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. were contenders, Boston won.

The city was selected as the American bid to be considered for the 2024 Olympics this past week. At first glance, one would think that’s totally rad, right? The entire world getting a first-hand look at the city that essentially founded our country?

Here’s why it’s actually an awful idea.

Only 4.5 billion to host? Ya right.

It’s going to cost $100 million just to be considered by the IOC to be host for the 2024 games. And although the budget is set at $4.5 bill, it’s estimated it would cost at least $15-$20 billion in renovating 30 or more sports venues, parking lots and roads.

Don’t believe it? London’s 2012 games had a budget of $4 billion and it ballooned to $20.

source: TheDailyBeast

Boston makes no gain, whatsoever.

Based on the 2012 games, here was London’s financial breakdown:

TV revenue: $713 million

International sponsorships: $310 million

Domestic sponsorships: $1.15 billion

Ticket sales: $988 million

Licensing: $119 million

Total revenue = $3.28 billion

FAR from the $20 billion in expenses. There is no way Boston makes money here, all at the taxpayer’s cost.

 
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Security

Ever since the tragedy in Munich, security has been at the forefront of every Olympic games. It’s a necessary expenditure — and it’s as expensive as you might think.

No one knows the exact amount it would cost to ensure the games’ safety, but estimates are running between $1-$2 billion based on information from the London Olympics alone.

Boston’s Infrastructure is insane

Remember Labyrinth? That’s Boston with an additional million people flooding the city for nearly three weeks straight.

The city’s infrastructure consists of a network of small, narrow streets originally built before the industrial revolution and meant to confuse the British!

It’s easy to get lost in Boston. The traffic is insane the way it is. And it’s a lot of city on a small piece of land that’s already over-developed. How does anyone expect the flood of traffic, not to mention the means and space needed to build new venues to meet the demands of the IOC, to go over smoothly?

 
Exploring Historic Boston

Traffic

I know I’ve already said traffic is insane, but imagine having to drive from Fenway Park to the TD Garden, then over to a ‘new’ stadium in South Boston. Although the city claims it would be a “walkable” Olympics, the venues which already exist to host such games are incredibly far from another, meaning one would have to drive. 
 
It’s not uncommon to find streets that start as a ‘one way,’ only to suddenly change directions. Sounds crazy, but locals say it’s true. Not to mention, Route 24 has been rated the most dangerous road in the state. Boston is also consistently rated within the top 10 U.S. cities for worst traffic, again, without hosting the world for a bunch of games. 
 
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Students will suffer

Some reports say the city proposal outlines that some colleges could build some of the infrastructure needed for the Olympics. That’s a great idea. The costs would come out of the students’ pockets in raised tuition — no administrators are taking a pay cut anytime soon. 

The games aren’t worth it

No, really … The whole argument for decades has been that with hosting the Olympics it will encourage tourism and help the local economy so great that the city will get back much more than it put in. According to this Time article, that’s not true:

“The Olympics, cities are often told, will boost tourism. One econometric study, however, showed that when other factors were controlled for, Atlanta saw no statistically significant change in retail sales, hotel occupancy, or airport traffic during the 1996 Olympics. During the Beijing Olympics in August of 2008, hotel bed nights dropped 39% compared to the prior year. For the 2000 Sydney Olympics, two researchers concluded that “in terms of purely measurable economic variables the [Games] had a negative effect on New South Wales and Australia as a whole.”

They’re already protesting?

Reports are that some locals are already protesting. Similar to what we saw in Brazil last year, many probably feel that $4-$20 billion would go a long way in helping healthcare, education and crime. I know, it’s crazy talk. 

Even though the IOC won’t make a decision until 2017, the fact some are already causing a stir can’t be a good sign. I mean, after all, this is the town that dumped tea into the Harbor over taxation without representation. Imagine what could happen when the IOC slaps a multi-billion dollar ‘tax’ that allows millions of foreigners to run the city for weeks on end?

Aerial view of Boston with the stadium in the foreground, Cambridge and Boston Downtown in the background - Massachusetts, United States of America

What Boston is saying on Facebook

And for your reading pleasure, here are some quotes directly from Bostonians on social media:
 
“Boston has terrible traffic, with some of the angriest, meanest, road-raging drivers. The MBTA transit is notoriously bad, so public transportation isn’t even a good option. Boston is already so focused on their own team sports, that anyone interfering with getting to a Red Sox or Celtics game.”
 
“As far as I know, no cities that host the Olympic games make money on them, and they are left with buildings that might be useless afterwards. Boston is particularly vulnerable because we have zero space left, and half our streets are so old they’re narrow winding paved-over cow paths. Can you imagine what the city would be like with months of unnecessary construction and the onslaught of tens of thousands of fans? The Olympic Committee has demonstrated time and again that they care more about money than the athletes or the hosting community. If Boston is going to wantonly throw money down the tubes, why not build something that will actually either generate more income, or benefit the parts of the city that need attention. Build new parks and renovate streets and city centers in the poorest areas. Put more officers on the job in the areas that need more protection. This is a no-brainer.”
 
“I think the Olympics would be a nightmare for Boston – and it didn’t help tourism in London – everyone stayed away from central London because they were afraid of the crowds.”
 
“Before Boston is committed, there should be a referendum: a statewide vote. If a majority of the state AND a majority of the Boston vote say yes, then we’re committed. If not, then we don’t do it. Period.”

The good news

Boston can still vote to knock down this nomination. The city council and the state legislature reportedly never voted on whether they wanted Boston to host the Olympics. Essentially if they don’t like the economics they can strike this whole deal down, and even if they don’t, the city is still competing against Paris, Rome, Berlin, Istanbul, Hamburg, Johannesburg, Durbin, St. Petersburg, Doha, Budapest and Melbourne for the rights to host the most expensive 17-days in human history.
 
Hang in there Boston! You’ll figure things out no matter what. After all, you’re wicked smaht.   

Josh Helmuth is the editor of CraveOnline Sports.

Photo Credit: Getty