Photo by John Schreiber.

As an Aug. 18 deadline looms, the Los Angeles City Council is expected Friday to approve the paperwork needed to bring the Olympics to Los Angeles in 2028.

Council members will vote on a new memorandum of understanding and host city contract for the 2028 Olympics, one of the final hurdles needed to officially bring the Games back to the Southland for the first time since 1984.

At a meeting of the council’s committee on the Olympics and then in a full session, it is widely expected the council members will sign off on the documents and commit themselves to fully pursuing the 2028 Games while ceding the 2024 Games to Paris, despite not knowing the full financial outlook the change could bring.

City officials told the Los Angeles Times the International Olympic Committee has given Los Angeles an Aug. 18 deadline for the paperwork to be completed.

LA 2028 proposed a balanced budget of $5.3 billion for 2024 — a low figure compared to other modern Olympics — by utilizing existing venues and not building any new permanent structures just for the Games. However, an independent analysis of a new budget in the works for 2028 would not likely be completed for months.

Los Angeles started off competing with other cities around the world for the 2024 Games, but  eventually all cities except for L.A. and Paris dropped out. In July, the International Olympic Committee approved the idea of awarding both the 2024 and 2028 Games simultaneously.

On July 31, Mayor Eric Garcetti and other leaders announced a tentative agreement to host in 2028 as long as the Los Angeles City Council and U.S. Olympic Committee Board of Directors also approve of the change. If that approval is given, the IOC, Los Angeles and Paris will work on a formal three- way agreement in advance of the IOC’s meeting in Lima, Peru, on Sept. 13, when the Games will officially be awarded.

Los Angeles would receive some significant financial concessions for waiting the extra four years to host. Under the terms of the 2028 host city contract, the IOC would advance $180 million to the Los Angeles organizing committee due to the longer planning period and to fund youth sports in the years leading up to the Games.

The IOC also agreed to waive $50 million in fees and contribute up to $2 billion of its broadcast and sponsorship revenues to the Games, more than the $1.7 billion pledged to Paris for 2024. The IOC also agreed to funnel any of its profits from the Games back to the city.

Despite not yet having a full budget, both the Office of the Chief Legislative Analyst and the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer have recommended that the City Council approve the host city contract and MOU.

The new memorandum provides city representation on the LA 2028 Board of Directors, gives the city consent rights over significant venue changes within Los Angeles and $270 million of the projected $500 million Games budget contingency, an increase from $250 million, according to LA 2028, the group spearheading the campaign to bring the Games to Los Angeles.

The memorandum also requires new, more frequent LA 2028 presentations and updates to the City Council in the first three years, invites additional city participation in developing LA 2028’s overall insurance and risk management strategy, requires LA 2028 to acquire additional insurance and requires an independent review of the LA 2028’s Games budget, which is to be paid for by LA 2028, according to that committee.

The memorandum requires the city and LA 2028 to formalize an agreement to support city youth sports programming in the years leading up to the Games.

“My top priorities in this process are to protect Los Angeles taxpayers and create new opportunities for young Angelenos to play sports, and be healthy,” Garcetti said. “This new MOU ensures that our city priorities remain front-and-center in LA 2028’s preparations for the Games. Under the City’s leadership, we can be sure that the up to $160 million we will receive to fund youth sports programs from LA 2028 will be put to the best, most impactful use.”

A potential risk factor in moving forward with 2028 is that part of the 2024 deal included $250 million from the state. With the Legislature on recess, it is not guaranteed that the state will approve the same amount for 2028 by a deadline of Aug. 18 when the council would need to take a number of actions.

—City News Service

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