The Blank Check - No Boston Olympics

The International Olympic Committee asks host governments to guarantee that the Games will go on as planned in the bid documents, no matter the cost (you can find confirmation of that guarantee on page 78 of this document). Effectively, Boston2024 is asking Massachusetts taxpayers to write a blank check for a $10+ billion, three-week festival. Taxpayers don't write a blank check to the Boston Marathon or the Red Sox. We don't write one for our public schools or our police and fire departments. Why would we write one to the IOC? Click here to join the 1,000+ Massachusetts residents who do not want to sign a blank check for Boston 2024.


Boston2024's boosters have claimed that they will purchase insurance to protect city and state taxpayers from Olympic cost overruns. Certainly such protection is needed: an Oxford University study found that every Olympic Games since 1960 has cost more than its initial budget. But after more than two years of secretive planning, the boosters have still not presented the public with an insurance policy that would protect taxpayers if things don't go according to plan. Rather than creating a responsible bid, Boston2024 is counting on taxpayers to fill out a blank check.

- Boston Globe columnist Scot Lehigh has a good overview of the situation here

- Chicago2016's insurance policy, the "model" for Boston2024's bid, covered less than half of the risk to taxpayers. One Chicago Alderman called the insurance plan, "a leap of faith." Crain's Business Journal wrote, "In many key areas, no insurer stands between taxpayers and the risk of revenue shortfalls or cost overruns."

- Incredibly, Boston2024 lists no insurance premiums in the budget it submitted to the USOC on 12/1/2014. Chicago's proposed Olympic insurance was projected to cost $68 million in premiums and still only covered less than half of Chicago's risk. Any Boston2024 insurance policy would require premium payments in the hundreds of millions -- why weren't those payments in Boston2024's budget?

- When asked by the Boston Globe editorial board to explain how the public would be protected from overruns, Boston2024 was unable to provide a coherent answer.

- In remarks to the Boston Business Journal, nationally renowned Boston College Professor Patricia McCoy has said, “If the City of Boston is worried about cost overruns, which it rightly should be, then it really needs to level with itself and say: ‘the budget may have to be bigger,’ and then, ‘we’re going to have to figure out where that money comes from; it’s probably not going to come from insurance.'"

- For further reading on proposed Olympic insurance policies:

As Olympics plan spreads statewide, Boston remains on the hook for cost overruns, Boston Business Journal

Chicago 2016: Agility key in insuring Olympics, Chicago Tribune

Peeling Back the Coverage, Crain's Business Journal

Boston 2024 bid calls on Chicago idea, Chicago Tribune

Boston 2024 idea of insuring city and state against cost over-runs could face big hurdles, Boston Business Journal

Taxpayer risk is Boston 2024’s highest hurdle, Boston Globe

Read the IOC's Host City Contract for the 2022 Winter Games