Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

A nonprofit formed by Mayor Eric Garcetti and businessman Casey Wasserman has renewed efforts to pitch Los Angeles to the U.S. Olympic Committee as America’s bid city for hosting the 2024 Summer Games, officials said today.

Garcetti and businessman Casey Wasserman, who formed LA24, a group formed to bring the Olympics back to Los Angeles, officially began talks earlier this month with USOC officials in a bid to replace Boston as the United States’ host city candidate, Garcetti senior adviser Jeff Millman said.

Boston was dropped as the host city candidate last month after the city’s mayor refused to sign a hosting document, citing concerns that the Olympics would be too costly and financially risky for taxpayers.

The USOC has until Sept. 15 to submit its proposed host city to the International Olympic Committee, which makes the ultimate decision on where the 2024 Olympics will be held.

Garcetti said last week that Los Angeles would be the most financially prudent option for hosting the Olympics, since “we have almost everything built, and that’s what distinguishes us from other cities.”

“Other cities would have to build stadiums, like the Coliseum, Staples Center, Stub Hub Center, the Forum.” he said.

“The reason a year ago I put Los Angeles forward is because I believe this is the financially responsible way and a way to re-energize this city. This is who we are, it is our destiny,” he said.

Garcetti and Wasserman told the Los Angeles Times Monday during an editorial board meeting that they believe event organizers will more likely see a profit, rather than lose money from hosting the Olympics.

LA24 officials estimated in December that it will cost $4.1 billion to host the Olympics in Los Angeles, Millman said. The budget also calls for a $400 million contingency to cover any cost overruns or shortfalls, which brings the budget up to $4.5 billion, he said.

Garcetti contended last week that cost overruns usually happen not in the operating budget, but in the capital budget, which covers construction costs.

“When you see a town like Sochi going way over, it’s because they’re building things on the capital budget,” Garcetti said.

Millman said LA24’s budget estimates capital costs of less than $1.5 billion for Los Angeles.

Event costs are expected to be covered by ticket sales and contributions from the International Olympic Committee, which put in $1.5 billion for the 2016 Rio Olympics, Millman said.

The nonprofit is separate from the city and would reimburse costs incurred by the city of Los Angeles, such as for sanitation, street services and public safety, Millman said. LA24’s event budget includes a $200 million line item to cover costs to the city government, he said.

If cost overruns do happen, LA24 would need to cover it, with insurance paying for further costs, Millman said. Only when the insurance runs out would the city of Los Angeles be on the hook to pay for any overruns, but he said that is unlikely due to the low capital costs.

If Los Angeles is chosen as America’s bidder, it could be up against potential foreign bidders such as Rome; Nairobi, Kenya; Casablanca, Morocco; Johannesburg and Durban, South Africa; Doha, Qatar; Melbourne, Australia; Paris; Hamburg, Germany; and St. Petersburg, Russia.

The United States did not make a bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, which were awarded to Tokyo in 2013. Los Angeles sought to be the U.S. candidate to host the 2016 Games but was beaten by Chicago, whose bid was ultimately rejected by the International Olympic Committee in favor of Rio de Janeiro.

Los Angeles is looking to join London as the only cities to host the Summer Olympics three times. Los Angeles was the site of the 1932 and 1984 Games.

The Summer Olympics were last held in the United States in 1996, when Atlanta was the site.

— City News Service

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