The private group pushing to host the 2024 Summer Olympics in Boston, under pressure to be more transparent, said Wednesday it will release more information to the public than it had previously planned.
On Tuesday, Boston 2024 officials had said the bid they submitted to the United States Olympic Committee would be shown to the media, but not to the public. Late Wednesday, the group changed course, saying the media and public would both have access to as much information as possible.
Boston 2024 officials said that, next Wednesday, they will release to the public the presentation they showed the USOC last month, as well as supporting documents. The information helped Boston beat Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., and emerge as the US nominee to host the 2024 Games. Boston will now compete against international cities, with the winner to be chosen in 2017.
“There is a limited amount of proprietary information that the USOC has asked us not to release because they believe it will put Boston and the United States at a competitive disadvantage,” said Erin Murphy Rafferty, executive vice president of Boston 2024. “All supporting documents with the exception of that proprietary information will be released to the media and the public.”
Rafferty did not elaborate on what details would be in the documents that are being released or withheld.
Mayor Martin J. Walsh, who has pledged the most open, transparent Olympics ever, on Wednesday said it made sense to release the supporting documents, but not proprietary information in the city’s bid.
“The United States Olympic Committee has said they cannot release the bid because it’s proprietary information,” Walsh said in a telephone interview before Boston 2024 announced it would release the documents. “Their feeling on it is, it puts the United States at a competitive disadvantage.”
The group No Boston Olympics has said the complete, unedited bid is a public record and should be made public.
“We are hearing too much ‘the USOC wants,’ and not enough ‘the people want.’ It’s telling that it took Freedom of Information Act filings and repeated demands by the media for Boston 2024 to decide to share these documents with the people who will be impacted by them,” said Chris Dempsey, co-chair of No Boston Olympics, before Boston 2024 announced it was releasing more records than previously planned.
Walsh said some parts of the bid — such as venue locations and costs — are subject to change and argued it is important to release information to the public as it becomes firmer.
“I know it’s a concept now and, as we move forward, I want to make sure that information is released to the public as different venues become reality,” he said.
Governor Charlie Baker, who has also called for a transparent Olympic process, did not directly answer a question about whether he believes the bid should be made public.
On Wednesday, a spokeswoman said, “Governor Baker hopes for an open and transparent process that ensures all voices are heard as the organizers prepare their bid for the [International Olympic Committee].”
Walsh has pledged to listen to community concerns even as he enthusiastically supports the city’s Olympic prospects. Last week, he announced that the city will hold nine community meetings about the Olympics and said, “I promise that this will be the most open and transparent and inclusive process in Olympic history.”
Olympics specialist Lisa Delpy Neirotti, a professor of sports management at George Washington University, said it is not unusual for the USOC to demand that local organizers keep bid documents secret.
“One reason they don’t want those documents online is that the competitors can look at it,” she said. “The Internet is global, and it’s not just something you can block off.”