Photo by John Schreiber.
Mayor Eric Garcetti. Photo by John Schreiber.

Mayor Eric Garcetti will be in Switzerland Wednesday to present Los Angeles to the International Olympic Committee as a candidate to host the 2024 Olympics.

Garcetti is part of a delegation that also includes LA 2024 chairman Casey Wasserman, U.S. Olympic Committee Chairman Larry Probst, and its CEO, Scott Blackmun. They are scheduled to arrive in Lausanne this afternoon, tour IOC headquarters Thursday morning and return to Southern California that evening.

The U.S. Olympic Committee selected Los Angeles Tuesday as the nation’s candidate to bid for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games, about an hour after the City Council voted 15-0 to back the bid.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Los Angeles as our U.S. bid city of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” Blackmun said at a news conference at the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica.

“LA has the proven experience in hosting the Games and knows how to deliver world-class events for athletes and an extraordinary experience for fans. Coupled with the city’s culture of creativity and innovation, we are confident LA can deliver an outstanding Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024.”

Boston was the USOC’s initial choice as the U.S. candidate but backed out over concerns about financial liability. Los Angeles had failed in its attempts in both of the most recent previous attempts to be the U.S. candidate.

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. The USOC had chosen New York City as its candidate for the 2012 Games, which were awarded to London.

The United States did not make a bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, which were awarded to Tokyo in 2013.

The IOC will choose the site of the 2024 Olympics in 2017. Other potential bidders include Paris; Rome; Nairobi, Kenya; Casablanca, Morocco; Johannesburg and Durban, South Africa; Doha, Qatar; Melbourne, Australia; Hamburg, Germany; and St. Petersburg, Russia.

Los Angeles — the site of the 1932 and 1984 games — is looking to join London as the only cities to host the Summer Olympics three times. The Summer Olympics were last held in the United States in 1996, when Atlanta was the site.

Garcetti in recent weeks has pointed to Los Angeles’ existing sports venues and other amenities, some of which are already being upgraded, as reasons his city would be a good choice.

Blackmun seized on that idea Tuesday, saying the IOC “is looking to partner with cities to create a new hosting model, a model that sheds excessive spending, using existing venues and builds as little as necessary.”

L.A. City Council members agreed to back the bid Tuesday only after city attorneys assured them the city will not be making any immediate financial commitments.

Chief Administrative Analyst Sharon Tso said the city will still have an opportunity to weigh in on the proposed budget of the Games, and any plans for venues or use of city facilities.

“I think it was a fabulous vote,” Garcetti said at City Hall shortly after the council decision. “We all know the next two years are about fleshing out the details, but this is in our DNA. We know how to do Olympics, we know how to do them well, we know how to do them economically … “

The “joinder” agreement approved by the City Council Tuesday was requested by the USOC, which has a Sept. 15 deadline to submit a proposed U.S. bid city to the IOC.

Council President Herb Wesson described the decision as “the engagement, not the wedding.” He compared the next few weeks of negotiating the details of agreements with LA24 and the USOC to the “pre-nup stage.”

Some city officials and residents have urged caution in pursuing the bid, saying the city could be on the hook for cost overruns incurred by hosting the Olympics, which may cost more to run than estimates by boosters.

LA24 officials estimate the cost for hosting the 2024 Olympics in Los Angeles would be $4.1 billion, or $4.6 billion when a roughly $400 million contingency fund and insurance are included.

They project revenue from the Games will bring in $4.8 billion, resulting in a profit of $161 million going to LA24.

The budget anticipates the IOC will contribute $1.5 billion, or 31 percent of the revenue, with domestic sponsorships and ticket revenue making up the other two-thirds.

The bid packet also included details about how the Olympics might be operated. The Olympic Village would be next to the Los Angeles River in Lincoln Heights — in a Union Pacific rail yard known as the “Piggyback Yard” — and calls for track-and-field and the opening and closing ceremonies to be held at a renovated Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The bid also designates venue clusters in downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, the San Fernando Valley, coastal areas like Santa Monica, the area around UCLA and the South Bay.

LA24 officials and Garcetti said the bid proposal and the budget figures are only a “first draft” and will continue to be refined over the next two years.


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