Data Desk

A look at the online opposition to Boston hosting the 2024 Olympics

Boston was selected as the American city that will bid to host the 2024 Olympics.
Brian Snyder/REUTERS
Boston was selected as the American city that will bid to host the 2024 Olympics.

Online opposition to Boston hosting the 2024 Olympic games has almost doubled on social media since Thursday, when US Olympic Committee officials announced that Boston was the US choice for the Games.

Supporters of a Boston Olympics overall have a stronger digital presence, but that advantage has narrowed as news that the city is the US pick to bid for the 2024 summer games seems to have energized opponents on social media.

The relative number of additional “likes” for each group’s Facebook page were consistent up until the news from Denver. Boston 2024’s page saw an increase of “likes” relative to the rate before, but it then plateaued quickly after the initial announcement.


In contrast, the relative growth of “likes” on the opposition group’s Facebook page jumped more than three times as fast on Friday and more than six times on Saturday.

Facebook page like rates

Measuring the relative change for Facebook Fans in percent over time. Boston was announced as the USOC's bid on 1/8/2015

DATA: Quintly

Globe Staff

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“There’s a lot of folks out there who are finally starting to pay attention,” said Chris Dempsey, part of the group No Boston Olympics. “When they read info from both sides we think they’re more with us than they are Boston 2024.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, people using the hashtag #Boston2024 are more likely to be interested in sports like swimming and gymnastics than those using the #NoBostonOlympics hashtag, according to social media analysis company Crimson Hexagon. Conversely, those engaging with #NoBostonOlympics are more likely to be interested in human rights and activism. Take a closer look at the interests of those who use those hashtags.

Reaction to the announcement by Boston Globe readers on Facebook and Twitter was more negative than positive. Those who reacted to news of Boston’s selection on Globe stories on Facebook were negative 65 percent of the time. On Twitter, more users were neither negative nor positive, but more were negative about the news than were positive.

Reactions to news of Boston's bid

Sentiment analysis of people reacting to The Boston Globe's links to news of the USOC decision on Twitter and Facebook

DATA: Twitter, Facebook

Globe Staff

No Boston Olympics isn’t the only group opposing Boston’s bid for the Games, but in recent months it has grown to become the most visible group pushing back.


No Boston Olympics says it operates with hundreds of volunteers and no full-time employees. The group has said the state should direct its attention to improving the economy, housing, and education instead of prioritizing getting the Olympics. In the 72 hours since the announcement, more than 1,000 people signed up on the group’s website.

Rate of growth aside, the Boston 2024 Organizing Committee’s efforts far outpace that of the opposing group. @Boston2024 has been mentioned by more influential authors like Mitt Romney and Nastia Liukin, who posted in support of Boston hosting the Olympics, according to an analysis of followers from Crimson Hexagon.

The group also has hit many more social media milestones, including more total Facebook “likes,” Twitter followers, and YouTube subscribers than its opponent.

Boston was the only bidding city where protesters rallied against the bid at a public forum discussing the Olympics prior to the USOC announcement.

Boston2024 versus No Boston Olympics
A look at social media statistics as of 1/12/2015
Boston 2024 Organizing Committee No Boston Olympics
Facebook likes 10,203 2,248
Twitter followers 10,400 1,797
Tweets 2,975 1,657
Favorites on Twitter 7,548 3,286
Tweet Impressions 2,700,000 730,000
Twitter mentions 3,826 963
Retweets 984 425
YouTube subscribers 219 10
YouTube videos 16 5
YouTube views 97,938 4,477
Local users who tweeted #boston2024 / #nobotonsolympics 4,204 2,396
DATA: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Crimson Hexagon, 61Fresh
Globe Staff

Daniel McLaughlin contributed to this report. Andrew Ba Tran can be reached at or found on Twitter at @abtran.