Tanguay: Boston 2024 was a good plan poorly executed


The Olympics won't happen in Boston, not in 2024 and probably ever. It’s too bad because I do believe the ingenuity, passion and dedication that this city is known for came through in Boston 2024’s attempt to bring the games here.

First of all, there was a legitimate attempt to reduce costs with the use of a temporary Olympic Stadium and the use of private investors. This wasn’t a bunch of rich big shots trying to shove a ridiculous plan down the throats of the common folk. It just seemed that way.

But perception is reality.

Getting an impactful message out was the problem for the beginning of Boston 2024 and it never recovered. John Fish was the visionary from the start, but unfortunately his specialty is construction and development, not public relations or marketing.

The idea had merit. Over 100,000 jobs would be created. The Widett Circle would be developed into revenue generating property for its landlords, the city and state. This is a reasonable idea. But when the word got out that Duval Patrick was making $7,500 a day, the public smelled a con job . . . even though the money was from private sources and not taxpayers.

I get it. They see $7,500 and Patrick’s name in the same sentence and smell a rat. Bad, Bad PR.

But the reality is, the Boston 2024 plan had merit. The jobs, the tax infusion from the property development and the safety nets to prevent the taxpayer from picking up the bill were not fantasies. Not to mention, an Olympic commitment would expedite needed infrastructure projects like the MBTA.

From the beginning, Boston 2024 should have talked to the labor unions first and obtained their support. In turn the unions could have put pressure on the politicians to support the Olympic, bid which would have brought a landslide of work the unions.

The next misstep was not stating from the beginning that a taxpayer guarantee would have to be signed no matter how many insurance safety nets were put in the place. The distrust that Boston 2024 created from the beginning was too much to overcome.

So in the end, as we have learned in sports, you can have a great game plan. But if you don’t have players to carry it out correctly, you lose.

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