Report: 2024 Games would cost T.O. $3-7B

Toronto City Councilor Michael Thompson eased the heart of Bob McCown, saying that while the possibility of Toronto making an Olympic bid is being explored, there are more important things the city is focusing on.

A Toronto bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics would cost an estimated $50-60 million. And that’s just to throw the city’s name in the hat.

And should the International Olympic Committee give Toronto the nod — after rejections in both 1996 and 2008 — the price tag to put on the show would run anywhere between $3.3-$7 billion (and almost no Olympic host city meets its forecasted budget; see Russia, $51 billion). To boot, there’s no telling whether hosting the Olympics will generate long-term economic benefits.

These were the key findings of a feasibility report conducted by Ernst & Young to look at the costs and profits of Toronto playing host to the Olympics. And now that the city’s economic development committee has this preliminary report in hand, they’re expected to vote next week on whether a more in-depth study is required to better inform a decision to pursue 2024 or not.

Toronto and its surrounding areas have built a slew of world-class athletic facilities for the upcoming 2015 Pan Am Games, but the Ernst & Young report notes they “may not be suitable” for the Olympics since they’re all over the place geographically (the cycling velodrome is in Milton, Ont., for example), and their design may not meet Olympic standards.

The report notes if Toronto doesn’t go after 2024, and those Summer Games go to a U.S. city — Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington and Philadelphia have all expressed interest to the United States Olympic Committee — then Toronto won’t have a good shot at winning until “at least” 2036.

Political leadership is key to a win, the study notes. That means for now it would require the backing of Mayor Rob Ford who previously shot down a possible bid for the 2020 Games.

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