If the money falls through, who cleans up the mess?
By Adam Vaccaro
Boston.com Staff | 07.14.15 | 11:40 AM
According to the most recent polling, half of Massachusetts voters oppose bringing the Olympics to Boston.
But even among the 42 percent who support the idea, more than half—53 percent—say they think taxpayer money will be required to pay for it (nearly 90 percent of opponents think so as well).
The specter of public financing has been the chief concern about Boston’s Olympic bid. Organizing group Boston 2024 has said it will privately pay for venues and Olympic operations, with the state covering some infrastructure costs. It has further said it will heavily insure the games to protect against needing the public’s financial support.
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Even so, the poll shows doubts organizers can keep the pledge of a privately financed games. That may be because one key element of hosting the Olympics looms over it: the government guarantee to cover any shortfalls in the private budget for the games.
What is the guarantee?
The International Olympic Committee, which governs the games and selects the host city, requires a financial backstop should Olympic organizers fail to
make ends meet. That goes for the costs both to operate the games and to build venues, such as the proposed Olympic Village in Dorchester.
The guarantee is part of the host city contract, which is signed after selection by the IOC.
Would the guarantee definitely be a part of the bidding process for 2024?
The IOC won’t make public the guarantees sought from 2024 bidders until September 16, the day after the deadline to formally enter the race. We won’t know what, exactly, the IOC wants until then. A spokeswoman for the IOC told Boston.com that as the 2024 bidding requirements are drafted, “a number of items will be discussed/reviewed.”
The financial guarantee, though, has long been a part of the process, and that seems unlikely to change.
A document put out by the IOC in June describing the 2024 bidding process for prospective hosts says: “To ensure the financial security of each edition of the Olympic Games, the IOC requests that a guarantee covering any shortfall in the [operating] budget is provided in the candidate city phase,” indicating the guarantee isn’t going anywhere this bidding cycle.
Story continues after gallery
Boston before and after the 2024 Olympics