Backers of Boston Olympics forecast operating surplus

Mon Jun 29, 2015 12:30pm EDT
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By Scott Malone

BOSTON (Reuters) - Backers of Boston's controversial bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games unveiled a revised plan for the Games on Monday that they said would run a $210 million operating surplus, addressing concerns the event would leave city taxpayers on the hook.

The forecast operating budget of $4.595 billion excludes hefty capital costs including an estimated $2.8 billion to build an Olympic Village for housing athletes and a $1.2 billion temporary stadium that would host athletics events as well as the opening and closing ceremonies and then be disassembled and converted to parkland.

"This could be the largest economic development opportunity in our lifetimes ... in Boston," said Steve Pagliuca, a private equity executive who serves as the chairman of Boston 2024. "This is going to bring a lot of jobs and a lot of housing and a lot of great things to region."

The bid follows the International Olympic Committee's recommendations intended to reduce the costs of hosting the Games and envisions a $210 million operating surplus, said Pagliuca, an executive with Bain Capital and co-owner of the Boston Celtics who was brought in to lead the group in May.

The recommendations followed record costs for the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing and the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, on which Russia spent some $50 billion.

Massachusetts officials have committed to holding a voter referendum on the games in November 2016, a date chosen to coincide with the typically high voter turnout seen in presidential elections. Backers have said they would not go forward if the bid does not win majority support.

The International Olympic Committee is to choose a host city in 2017.

The budget includes $128 million for insurance to cover any cost overruns, Pagliuca said.   Continued...