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Volume 25 No. 177
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USOC's Choice Of Compact Boston Bid For '24 Games Could Be Attractive To IOC BOD

Boston last week was chosen as the USOC's bid city for the '24 Games, and there is "reason to believe" it will be "attractive to IOC members who want a cheaper and more compact event," according to John Powers of the BOSTON GLOBE. One USOC BOD member "observed that Boston, with its 'walkable' concept for spectators, could be a 'summer Lillehammer.'" What also "could help Boston’s chances is the feeling that Chicago" during the vote for the '16 Games host site "was a victim of anti-American sentiment and a sense that South America deserved to finally stage the Games." But Boston still will face "stiff competition from a field that is likely to include three former hosts with undeniable global cachet" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/11). IOC President Thomas Bach on Friday said, "The Boston bid will be a strong one." He added, "The bid also has the great potential to build on the strength of the athletes from the U.S. Olympic Team. U.S. athletes have a worldwide reputation and will be a huge asset for the bid." IOC VP Craig Reedie: "The economy in the USA is recovering and may provide a sound basis for the candidature." Norwegian IOC member and former IOC Marketing Commission Chair Gerhard Heiberg: "I think they have a good concept and I think United States has a great possibility this time. It's a long time since the games were in the States" (AP, 1/9).

A STRONG PRESENTATION: In Boston, Shira Springer noted to "get to this point, it already has been a long road filled with commission meetings, strategy sessions, fund-raising calls, and bid presentation prep." UMass-Boston Chancellor Keith Motley, Paralympic athlete and sports medicine physician Cheri Blauwet, Elkus Manfredi Architects Founding Principal David Manfredi and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh presented the bid to the USOC on Dec. 16 in Redwood City, Calif. While Manfredi "focused on the modular designs of buildings, Blauwet highlighted how Boston planned an athlete-centric Games by placing 28 venues within a 10-kilometer radius." Walsh "starred in the third segment of the presentation, framing Boston as 'a smaller city with a big heart.'” The closing argument came from Boston Olympic Committee Chair John Fish, who said that the world "comes to Boston for universities, medical expertise, and business opportunities, so why not trust Boston to host the Olympics." USOC BOD member and IOC member Angela Ruggiero said that Boston’s bid "impressed her and other board members in a number of key areas -- plans to integrate local universities, an early focus on athletes, an intimate feel, expansion into a U.S. region that hasn’t previously hosted the Games, and alignment with the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020 that calls for more affordable, more sustainable Olympics." The "passion of Walsh and Fish at the Redwood City presentation also left a favorable impression," as did the fact that Walsh and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker would be in office through at least '17 (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/10). Also in Boston, Laurel Sweet notes Mitt Romney, who was President & CEO of the Salt Lake City '02 Organizing Committee, is on Baker's "short list of Olympic advisers" (BOSTON HERALD, 1/12). 

INSURANCE POLICY: In Chicago, Philip Hersh noted Boston 2024 Partnership President Dan O'Connell credited former Chicago 2016 Chair & CEO Pat Ryan "for the concept of using insurance policies as a way to provide international and local financial guarantees for the costs of staging the Summer Games." The insurance also aims to "protect local taxpayers from having to cover any shortfalls." The projected Boston '24 operating budget is $4.5B, which "seems low." The bid committee’s "insurance policy for the period between now and the IOC vote" on the '24 host is for $25M. O'Connell said, "This policy will protect the taxpayers from any liability under the host city agreement" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/10). 

THE OLD COLLEGE TRY: In Boston, Matt Rocheleau noted Boston 2024 organizers are "galvanizing area colleges to play a pivotal role in staging the games, from housing athletes and providing sporting venues to building facilities that would serve students long after the international spotlight fades." Organizers said that up to 75% of sporting venues "would be on local campuses." Bentley Univ. President and Boston 2024 Institutional Engagement Committee co-Chair Gloria Larson said that university administrators from UMass-Boston, Harvard, Boston College, Boston Univ., Northeastern, Tufts, MIT, and UMass-Lowell "have already been involved in discussions." The committee also is "branching out to dozens of other colleges -- including some outside of Massachusetts -- to gauge their interest" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/10). In N.Y., Katharine Seelye wrote by using colleges, Boston’s promoters "hope to cut down on many of the costs usually associated with hosting the Olympics." Organizers also hope to "leverage the excitement that the Games could generate to unlock money from alumni who might be thrilled to make donations to upgrade their facilities for Olympic events" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/10).

Many of Boston's pro sports teams are actively 
involved in helping the city land the 2024 Games
PLAYING WITH THE BIG LEAGUES: In Boston, Scott Lauber noted the city's pro teams "are pledging full-throated support for the Olympic movement." Even Patriots Owner Robert Kraft and Celtics co-Owner Steve Pagliuca are "actively involved in Boston 2024." Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs said, "I think it's tremendous." Lauber noted while Jacobs said that the Bruins have been "'part of the effort to secure Boston’s bid,' Pagliuca co-chairs the Boston 2024 finance committee and is one of the largest donors." Celtics Managing Partner & CEO Wyc Grousbeck and President Rich Gotham are "members of a group called 'Friends of Boston 2024' and have sat in on meetings." Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy said that the team was "not involved" (BOSTON HERALD, 1/10). 

COURSE CORRECTION? Golf Digest’s Geoff Shackelford notes the William J. Devine Golf Course at Franklin Park was designated as Boston's choice of venue for the sport should the city win the '24 bid. Shackelford: "Everybody I hear from in Boston says even with the renovation, they're having a hard time picturing it as a venue." The Country Club course in Brookline, Mass., was "quietly not part of the Boston bid, which I think is interesting because Los Angeles had Riviera lined up and San Francisco had The Olympic Club ready to go for their bids." This is a "very interesting development and The Country Club had a great U.S Amateur" in '13, has "done some restoration work (and) the momentum was there." Shackelford: "It is fascinating to see if they stayed out of this Olympic bid because they view a U.S. Open in their sights for a potential return after a long time to The Country Club. I'm not quite sure what's going on there” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 1/12).

LET THE GAMES BEGIN: In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont offers a "few observations, look-backs, meanderings, and musings" on what the '24 Games will be like if Boston is awarded the Olympics (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/11). Also in Boston, Yvonne Abraham wrote the Games would be "another milestone in the history of Boston’s maddening -- and, let’s face it, immutable -- inferiority complex." But it still is "hard not to get caught up in the excitement." And to "marvel at the sight of all those political leaders, big thinkers, and business titans united in a single purpose, certain they can pull off the seemingly impossible" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/11). 

WORTH THE INVESTMENT? In N.Y., Jere Longman wrote, "Lofty talk about the Olympics as an opportunity to transform Boston must be balanced against history." That history suggests Boston’s preliminary budget "would trampoline," and any "residual benefit from hosting the Games would likely be as ephemeral as a rhythmic gymnastics routine" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/10). In Boston, Christopher Gasper wrote the "question is whether it’s worth it." Gasper: "Does the benefit outweigh the potential logistical and financial pratfalls of hosting gym class for the world?" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/10). Also in Boston, Joe Fitzgerald wrote, "We don’t need the Olympics to give us an identity, nor do we need the logistical nightmare of wandering strangers asking where they can view archery and underwater swimming" (BOSTON HERALD, 1/11). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Matthew Futterman wrote Boston "isn’t a world capital." Futterman: "How do we know this? Because Boston officialdom spent a good portion of a Friday morning news conference declaring that the city is, in fact, a world capital." Saying that people "shouldn’t be surprised at Boston’s selection is acknowledging that they might be -- as they should be" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/10).

VOTER'S REMORSE? The CHICAGO TRIBUNE's Hersh wrote the "key thing may be whether IOC members really believe what they voted for unanimously in Monaco or whether it was just lip service, especially if a dictatorial government or ludicrously rich country (Qatar) throws a cost-is-no-issue hat into the ring." There also may be "some IOC members who worry after Atlanta about giving a Summer Games to another 'second tier' U.S. city, since all but one Summer Games since World War II (Melbourne, 1956) has taken place in a country's capital or one of its major cities" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/10). In L.A., Kerry Cavanaugh wrote, "Rather than mourn the loss of the Olympics, let’s look on the bright side." Cavanaugh: "At least San Francisco didn't get it." And L.A. taxpayers are "completely off the hook for any potential Olympic expense" (L.A. TIMES, 1/9).

PLACE YOUR BETS: USA TODAY's Martin Rogers reported a group of Las Vegas sports books "have teamed up to lobby the Nevada Gaming Commission to legalize Olympic betting in Nevada, and hope that approval will be granted in time for next year's Summer Games in Rio." Among the "chief arguments being put forward by the group is that Olympic wagering is commonplace in other parts of the world, and that forbidding bets on stars" such as Cavaliers F LeBron James and Penguins C Sidney Crosby in the Olympics, when they are "allowed on NBA and NHL games, is anomalous." Until now, Olympic betting "has been outlawed in Nevada because of its classification as amateur sport" (USATODAY.com, 1/10).