Massachusetts hires consulting firm to undertake financial review of Boston's 2024 Olympic bid

The state's top political leaders have tapped a Cambridge-based firm to conduct an independent financial review of Boston's Olympic bid.

Gov. Charlie Baker joined with House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Stan Rosenberg on Monday to announce that the consulting firm The Brattle Group will review a proposal by Boston to host the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Baker, a Republican, said the firm will analyze and evaluate aspects of financing, infrastructure, economic impacts and state and taxpayer responsibilities related to Boston 2024's bid preparation.

"They're a global consulting firm made up primarily of a lot of people I would call numbers geeks, which I consider to be a compliment — a lot of economists, a lot of accountants, a lot of people who are perfectly happy to get pretty deep into the numbers," he said Monday after his weekly Statehouse meeting with DeLeo and Rosenberg.

Rosenberg said he's also eager to get an independent view of what the state's financial exposure could be if Boston hosts the games.

"We have been clear that we are happy to help with infrastructure that we would build anyway," said Rosenberg, an Amherst Democrat. "The issue is (the) operating subsidy and closing any deficit."

Baker said that while hosting the Olympics would be a great opportunity to showcase Massachusetts, having "a robust analysis" of the bid will help ensure transparency and protections for taxpayers.

Baker said The Brattle Group analysis should be finished at a cost of no more than $250,000 by mid-August, a few weeks before the U.S. Olympic Committee makes a final decision about the Boston bid.

The deadline is Sept. 15 to submit a final bid to the International Olympic Committee, which will select the host city in 2017. Rome and Hamburg, Germany, also are declared bidders, and Paris and Budapest, Hungary, are expected to enter the race soon.

Boston organizers will update the USOC on June 30.

USOC board member Angela Ruggiero has said the USOC was still vetting the bid and there was "no guarantee" Boston would be put forward as the U.S. candidate, suggesting it could be ditched in favor of Los Angeles, which hosted the games in 1932 and 1984.

Baker said The Brattle Group report would be made public.

He said he's still waiting for more details about the Olympic bid from Boston 2024, including where the sporting venues would be located, how much money it can raise and what it's expecting from the state on infrastructure improvements.

The group No Boston Olympics, which argues that hosting the Olympics would expose the state and city to huge financial risks, issued a statement welcoming the move.

"The Brattle Group has demonstrated experience helping assess value, risk, and cost," it said. "We look forward to sitting down with them to share our analysis of the Boston 2024 bid."

Polls have shown local support for the Boston bid at below 50 percent.