A group in Boston is exploring a potential bid for the 2024 Olympics, and it’s got some star power.
An elite group of city leaders is “quietly exploring the prospect,” including bringing in 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics Organizing Committee president Mitt Romney as a key adviser, according to the Boston Globe.
“Boston would be a fantastic place for the Summer Games,” Romney told the newspaper. “It would be a marvelous community-building experience for Boston, and I think the people who would enjoy the games with or without tickets would say it was one of the best experiences of their life.”
Group leader John F. Fish, chairman of Suffolk Construction, hosted a U.S. Olympic Committee delegation over two days in October, according to the newspaper.
New England Patriots and New England Revolution owner Robert Kraft has also been consulted by the group.
“Just looking at it from our point of view, we’re probably going to seriously consider a downtown soccer stadium somewhere in Boston or the Greater Boston area,” Kraft told the newspaper. “We would try to help tailor something that could serve the needs of the Olympics and also our soccer team.”
The Globe pointed out potential issues that would have to be resolved for a Boston bid:
Though Boston is packed with athletic venues that could potentially host events, the city lacks several major components necessary to host a Summer Olympics. Transportation between venues in a cramped city with an aging subway system would also have to be closely examined. And supporters would have to galvanize political and community support for hosting the Games and show that potentially expensive facilities could be beneficial to the city long after the Olympic torch is put out.
The U.S. hasn’t hosted an Olympics since the 2002 Winter Games and is in the middle of its longest stretch between hosting Olympics since a 28-year gap between 1932 and 1960.
In February, the U.S. Olympic Committee sent letters to mayors of 35 cities to gauge interest in potential bids for 2024.
In March, Boston mayor Thomas Menino said the idea of bringing the Olympics to the city would be “far-fetched.”
In October, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed a bill to form a commission to look into a potential 2024 Boston Olympic bid with a completed report due in March.
“It’s a huge-impact event,” Romney told the Globe. “It’s like 20 Super Bowls all at once. The transportation has to be completely redone. The fund-raising and marketing of the Games is extensive. It’s an amazing undertaking.”
USOC chairman Larry Probst said 2024 Olympic bidding will be talked about at USOC meetings in December, when a timetable for the selection of a city could be created. Bidding for the 2024 Olympic host begins in 2015, and the IOC will vote in 2017.
Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Dallas and Philadelphia are among other cities that have expressed interest.
Probst said in September that if the USOC decides to bid, which would not be until 2014, that it will come from “not a long list of cities, realistically.”