A report on Boston's now-withdrawn bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics found that officials may have underestimated potential venue costs by more than $970 million. The study released Tuesday, performed by a consulting firm called the Brattle Group, was originally commissioned by Massachusetts state legislators to evaluate the risks of a bid before Boston officials dropped out of the running for the games in July.
The firm found the revenue projections from the bid committee, called Boston 2024, reasonable and said that the games might have had a "very modest" effect on the state's gross domestic product. But the bid's venue projections may also have been way off. Boston 2024 pegged their cost at $918 million, but the consulting firm estimated costs "[more than] $970 million higher" would have been more reasonable.
The unexpected cost overruns were likely to come from building a temporary main stadium, athlete's village and media center. Boston's bid, for instance, suggested a media center would have cost about $50.5 million, a figure 90 percent lower than a similar center built for London's 2012 Olympics. The study also found that operating costs would have been about $750 million higher than projected.
“Even though the bid was withdrawn, this report demonstrates that there were a series of real risks associated with bringing the [Olympics] to Massachusetts,” state Senate President Stan Rosenberg said in a statement, via the Los Angeles Times.
The report ultimately found that state taxpayers could have been at risk of paying for ballooning costs. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker told reporters after the study's release that after seeing the report he would not have been able to support the failed bid.
“There was in fact significant risk to the taxpayers on the costs associated with public resources attached to this event,” Baker said, according to WBUR. "Therefore, at this time I would not have been able or willing to provide the guarantees the [United States Olympic Committee] was looking for from the commonwealth of Massachusetts."
Boston's bid was terminated by the United States Olympic Committee in July amid taxpayer concerns over footing a hefty bill and Mayor Marty Walsh's refusal to sign a host contract before gaining further information. In the wake of Boston being dropped as a host city, Los Angeles has become the front-runner to bid for the 2024 Olympics. The United States Olympic Committee has to choose a host by mid-September and the International Olympic Committee is scheduled to select a city in 2017.
Los Angeles' bid projected costs at just $4.1 billion, and Mayor Eric Garcetti has suggested the city could replicate its profitable 1984 games and end up with a surplus of some $150 million. While Los Angeles already has much of the needed infrastructure in place, some experts suggest the projected budget for the games could be too low.