BOSTON — On Thursday afternoon, Charlie Jacobs, CEO of Delaware North’s Boston Holdings, announced that if Boston wins the bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, TD Garden will be the site of two of the Games’ marquee events: men’s and women’s basketball and Paralympic basketball as well as gymnastics.
“We are all proud of Boston and the memories in this building — including the Olympic trials here at the TD Garden [in 2014] — and I’m looking forward to the next chapter, as I hope all of you are as well,” Jacobs said during a press conference on the Garden’s parquet floor. “We’re in the process of finishing up a $70 million upgrade here to this building, and we want to make this venue perfect for not only national events, but the international theater of the Olympics itself here in 2024.”
Steve Pagliuca, co-owner of the Boston Celtics and co-chair of the Boston 2024 Olympics Finance Committee, was also on hand for the press conference, as were TD Garden President Amy Latimer, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman and Celtics Hall of Famer Jo Jo White.
“We’ve had a great partnership with the Bruins and the Garden for many, many years,” Pagliuca said. “The fact that we have such iconic sports venues in Boston like the Garden puts Boston in a very strong competitive position to win the Games on the world stage.
“Our whole city has impressed everybody that has seen it, with the universities, the beauty of the city and the fact that we’ll be able to put on a compact Games but still have some other [host] venues outside of Boston.
“Boston sports fans have grown up watching the Celtics and the Bruins at the Garden, and the many championships here, and the Olympics and the Paralympics will just top that off with a once-in-a-lifetime thrill, I think, for all of us.”
Walsh recalled the experience of being present at TD Garden for the 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, which served as the Olympic trials for the Games in Sochi. He said the experience was unlike any other he had ever had at the Garden.
If Boston receives the bid to host the 2024 Olympics, he said, there are thousands of others who would also have the opportunity to experience that indescribable feeling.
“I had a chance to watch all the young American athletes prepare and see how they were getting ready to hit the ice to go on to Sochi, and I had the chance to watch the crowd — and the crowd that was in this building was electrifying because they were so excited,” Walsh said. “They were so excited about seeing young athletes here performing that we were going to see performing three weeks later in Sochi.”
Walsh and Pagliuca emphasized that the Garden offers the ideal venue to host two of the Games’ most popular events.
“I know that there’s been a lot of questions around the Olympics over the last several months, and it’s great to see now as this plan unfolds [what] the venues are going to [be], and where the events are going to happen,” Walsh said. “It’s adding some reality to what we’ve been talking about over the course of the last several months here in Boston and in Massachusetts.”
Pagliuca said the committee will continue to collaborate and cooperate with the city and its surrounding communities in order to mastermind the ideal environment for hosting the largest sports showcase the world has to offer.
“From New Bedford to Dorchester, from Burlington to Billerica, to right here in the center of Boston, the support from our venue partners gives us confidence of the long-term benefits for the city to host the Games,” he said.
Walsh added that the city of Boston has a tremendous opportunity ahead, and he — along with many others — is excited to consider the possibilities the Olympics would bring.
“This underscores the incredible potential for the Boston Olympics as a showcase to the world,” Walsh said, “and we can inspire young people to certainly follow their dreams.”