Watch CBS News

Keller @ Large: John Fish Talks Boston 2024 Olympics

BOSTON (CBS) - A new survey shows about 55 percent of people want Boston to hold the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. But most of those people also want the bid done without taxpayer money.

WBZ's Jon Keller went right to the source to find out who is footing the bill in a one on one interview with John Fish, chair of Boston 2024.

Check: Olympic Survey Results

"We have to be thinking big, we have to be thinking bold," Fish said.

And to John Fish a Boston Summer Olympics would be a big, bold step into the future for the city and the state.

"I don't really believe that you or I are going to benefit from these games in any substantial way," Fish said. "But who is going to benefit? It's going to be the next generation, your children and your grandchildren."

But a new statewide poll by Sage Systems finds 54 percent believe financial support for the games would come "at the expense of other worthwhile causes," while only 23 percent buy Fish's claim of long-term economic benefits with the private sector picking up the tab.

Keller asked Fish: "How can you plausibly make budgetary assumptions about the level of corporate sponsorship, about the level of university participation, knowing there's a possibility we might experience another financial downturn that would blow all those commitments to smithereens?"

"There's no guarantees that something happens radically in the world at all, but if people looked at their future in that context, we wouldn't get anywhere," Fish responded.

"It's like anything else when you talk about finances, the devil is in the details."

As we learned from the massive Big Dig cost-overruns, a fiscal nightmare that Fish says shouldn't haunt the Olympic effort.

"The Big Dig was conceived, developed and constructed publicly, there was no private-sector involvement from a leadership point of view, it was a government project. This is a public-private process, so you've got business at the table, day one."

Will that help ease public concern about potential Olympic red ink? We may get a chance to find out. Independent Party chairman Evan Falchuk, who ran for governor last year, says he may try to put the games to a statewide vote next year.

You can watch Jon Keller's full interview with John Fish on WBZ-TV Sunday January 18 at 8:30 am.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.