Hop­ing to host

Of­fi­cials for trou­bled 2024 Olympic ef­fort will present re­vamped pro­posal to­day.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By David Whar­ton david. whar­ton@ latimes. com Twit­ter: @ LATimesWhar­ton

Of­fi­cials try­ing to bring 2024 Olympics to Bos­ton will of­fer re­vamped plan.

RED­WOOD CITY, Calif. — Bos­ton of­fi­cials have ar­rived in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia to face a cru­cial test in their cam­paign to bid for the 2024 Sum­mer Olympics.

Af­ter months of mis­steps and low public sup­port back home, they will ap­pear be­fore a U. S. Olympic Com­mit­tee board meet­ing here Tues­day to present a re­vamped pro­posal.

The new plan claims that Bos­ton can stage the Games for a cost of $ 4.6 bil­lion while gen­er­at­ing enough money from ticket sales, lo­cal spon­sor­ships and other sources to cover ex­penses and come away with a $ 210- mil­lion sur­plus.

But re­as­sur­ing the USOC is only part of the chal­lenge. Bid of­fi­cials must con­vince skep­ti­cal Mas­sachusetts res­i­dents who worry about get­ting stuck with the bill for one of the world’s largest and most costly sport­ing events.

“We’ve put a lot of in­for­ma­tion out there,” said Doug Ru­bin, a Bos­ton 2024 spokesman. “We have to talk about it with the com­mu­nity, with lo­cal lead­ers and with leg­is­la­tors.”

There isn’t much time. The In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee wants of­fi­cial sub­mis­sions by mid- Septem­ber.

If Bos­ton con­tin­ues to strug­gle, the USOC could turn to Los An­ge­les as a last­minute United States re­place­ment can­di­date.

“I think the USOC has a very dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion,” said Jules Boykoff, a po­lit­i­cal science pro­fes­sor at Pa­cific Univer­sity in Ore­gon who tracks Olympic bid­ding. “Bos­ton 2024 can put for­ward in­for­ma­tion, but they have to get the public be­hind this.”

It was just last win­ter that Bos­ton edged out Los An­ge­les in a USOC com­pe­ti­tion to be the sole Amer­i­can bid­der. Since then, cost has been of pri­mary con­cern in Mas­sachusetts, where a re­cent poll showed only 39% of re­spon­dents sup­ported host­ing the Games in the cap­i­tal.

While Bos­ton 2024 of­fi­cials hoped the tweaks in their “Bid 2.0” would ease con­cerns, op­po­nents are skep­ti­cal.

“The prom­ise of a sur­plus has been heard in host cities be­fore, but public debt and un­der­uti­lized venues have been the typ­i­cal post- Olympics re­al­ity,” a group called No Bos­ton Olympics said in a state­ment Mon­day.

Sev­eral num­bers in the new plan at­tracted par­tic­u­lar scru­tiny. For ex­am­ple, bid of­fi­cials es­ti­mated they could build a tem­po­rary Olympic Sta­dium for $ 176 mil­lion. Tokyo, by com­par­i­son, will spend a re­ported $ 2 bil­lion on a per­ma­nent sta­dium for the 2020 Sum­mer Games.

Bos­ton also out­lined a $ 128- mil­lion in­sur­ance pack­age to cover cost over­runs but ac­knowl­edged it does not have an in­surer. The pro­posal ex­cluded ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture costs — in­clud­ing bil­lions for re­gional transit — claim­ing those would have been un­der­taken by state and lo­cal gov­ern­ments re­gard­less of the Olympics.

Sim­i­lar ar­gu­ments were made by or­ga­niz­ers in Sochi, Rus­sia, who dis­tanced them­selves from much of the es­ti­mated $ 51 bil­lion spent on the 2014 Win­ter Games.

While es­ti­mat­ing the Olympics would leave be­hind af­ford­able hous­ing and thou­sands of jobs, bid of­fi­cials also em­pha­sized a strate­gic shift.

Re­cent polling showed public sup­port might rise sig­nif­i­cantly if venues were dis­trib­uted statewide. Bos­ton ini­tially pro­posed a “walk­a­ble” Games but now plans to ex­tend be­yond the city with events such as ca­noe­ing in Deer­field River to the west and sail­ing at New Bed­ford in the south.

Of­fi­cials em­pha­sized their plan still calls for 23 venues in a roughly six- mile ra­dius.

Low venue costs rep­re­sented a selling point in Los An­ge­les’ pro­posal last year, with of­fi­cials plan­ning to use an ar­ray of ex­ist­ing fa­cil­i­ties such as Sta­ples Cen­ter and the re­fur­bished Pauley Pav­il­ion. That means Los An­ge­les could quickly step in as a re­place­ment if the USOC turns away from Bos­ton, said peo­ple close to the sit­u­a­tion who were not au­tho­rized to speak pub­licly.

With less than three months to fi­nal­ize their sub­mis­sion, USOC board mem­bers will de­vote much of Tues­day’s meet­ing to the is­sue. They know an Amer­i­can en­try would face stiff com­pe­ti­tion with Rome, Paris and Ham­burg, Ger­many, plan­ning to con­tend for 2024.

“If Bos­ton can’t change the polling num­bers in the next month or so,” Boykoff said, “this bid is go­ing nowhere.”

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