Boston's bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics could soon be dead. Mayor Marty Walsh said Monday in a press conference that he would not immediately sign a host city agreement, leaving the bid’s fate in the hands of the U.S. Olympic Committee.
The committee wanted the agreement signed as soon as possible, but Walsh said he wouldn't put taxpayers at risk without having the chance to assure that proper financial protections would be put in place to protect the city from the games' costs. Walsh called a hastily arranged press conference amid reports that the U.S. Olympic Committee wanted the document signed immediately or Boston would lose its bid.
"I refuse to mortgage the future of the city away," Walsh said, according to NECN. Walsh said that if signing the contract is required then, “Boston is no longer pursing to host the 2024 Summer Games,” according to the Boston Globe.
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) July 27, 2015
That leaves the decision with the U.S. Olympic Committee, which was expected to discuss Boston's bid at a board meeting Monday. While an exact date wasn't given, “They want us to sign the contract as soon as possible,” Walsh said, according to WBZ in Boston. "We can’t do that,” he added.
The Boston bid has seen significant pushback from people concerned about the costs associated with hosting the Olympics. A group called "No Boston Olympics" says on its website, "We respect and appreciate the role of the Olympics in global athletic competition, but we do not believe Boston2024's bid is in the best interests of the City of Boston or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."
I've covered every Olympics since 2002 & it's my favorite event to cover. But I'm with the no-Olympics crowd in Boston. Taxpayer disaster.
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) July 27, 2015
Walsh said the city faces a deadline from the International Olympic Committee requiring a signed host agreement in September. But the International Olympic Committee won't choose the winning city until 2017, and Walsh said that leaves time for consideration. "This is a big decision, and I think you need to have the time to process it," Walsh said, according to the Boston Globe.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker was supposed to speak with U.S. Olympic Committee board members in a phone call Monday morning, reportedly to give his stance on the bid. Details about the call are not yet known. Baker said last week, however, that he would not commit to a bid until seeing a full report from a consultant group he commissioned to look over the bid, according to WBZ. Walsh said he spoke with Baker and that he supports his views, according to the Globe.
The Boston bid committee estimated that the games would cost $4.6 billion, but numbers often balloon. The London Olympics, for instance, had a final price tag of about $14 billion, reported the Guardian. If the U.S. Olympic Committee decides to pull Boston's bid, it's widely believed Los Angeles will take its place.