By Duncan Mackay

Boston 2024 logoMarch 6 -  A bid from Boston for the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics appears unlikely after the city's Mayor admitted the idea was "far-fetched" despite a private group setting-up a committee to campaign for the idea.

The Boston Olympic Exploratory Committee had hoped to win Mayor Thomas M. Merino's endorsement, and chairman Eric Reddy had claimed that early talks had so far proved encouraging, including with Christopher Cook, director of the Mayor's Office of Arts, Tourism and Special Events.

But Merino quickly distanced himself from the idea, even though Boston is one of America's most fanatical sports cities, being home to the Boston Red Sox, the New England Patriots, Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics, as well as the Boston Marathon, the world's oldest annual marathon.

"I think it's far-fetched," Merino told Boston radio station WBUR. 

"I'd also be concerned about the cost of it and what it costs to taxpayers of the city of Boston.

"Just to apply, to be considered costs $6-8 million (£4 million/€4.5 million-£5 million/€6 million) - not refundable either.

"So that's $6-8 million that was used of public funds to apply for consideration for the Olympics."

The Committee has been established in response to a letter sent out by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) to 35 cities, including Boston, inviting them to let them know if they were interested in bidding for the Games. 

The group has already established a wesbsiteFacebook page and Twitter feed as its tries to drum up support for the idea.

Boston Marathon finishBoston stages the world's oldest annual marathon but there are major doubts over whether it could successfully host an Olympics and Paralympics

"What we want is a green light to pursue this for, say, five months and see how far we get," Reddy, a senior charitable sales manager at Boston-based Tickets-for-Charity," told the Boston Globe.

"We would form a [non-profit organisation] and begin to seek donations.

"This is a legitimately crazy idea I'm presenting.

"But someone is going to win this, and Boston has a lot to offer."

In January, state Senator Eileen Donoghue, a Lowell Democrat, filed legislation to create a special commission to study the feasibility of hosting the Olympics, according to the Boston Globe.

Among the requirements laid out in the USOC letter was that each city must have a minimum of 45,000 hotel rooms, presenting Boston with an immediate problem as it has only 30,000.

Boston, covering 48 square miles and which had an estimated population of 626,000 in 2011, making it only the 21st largest city in the US, would also face the problem of where to build an Olympic Stadium and Olympic Village.

Previous attempts by a different group to get a Boston bid for the 2004 or 2008 Olympics also floundered.

"At this time, I think it's a far-fetched idea, and just wish that I knew about it before it was in the paper," said Merino.

"Especially in these economic times, with what's happening in Washington today and what could possibly happen in the state, I need every penny I have to make sure we continue the services to the people of Boston,

"I just don't know where we could create that massive land in our city or in the surrounding cities."

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