Although little drama appears to be left in the announcement, Los Angeles is expected to be officially named Wednesday host of the 2028 Summer Olympics Wednesday following a meeting of the International Olympic Committee in Lima, Peru.
The successful bid will be announced an unprecedented 11 years before the actual Olympics are to take place. For Los Angeles, it would be the third time hosting after previous stints in 1932 and 1984. Paris, which is expected to be awarded the 2024 Games, would also be hosting for the third time, and two cities were initially in competition just for 2024.
“This is the moment Angelenos have been waiting for since we began our work to bring the Games back to Los Angeles,” L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said over the weekend before leaving for Peru. “Today, LA 2028 is taking the final step in our bid, and preparing to begin our 11-year journey as an Olympic host city. I am thrilled to begin the next chapter of this process, which will usher the Olympic Movement into a new generation and lift up young people from every community in our city.”
After the IOC announced over the summer its desire to award both the `24 and `28 Games simultaneously, Mayor Eric Garcetti and other leaders reached a tentative agreement in July to host in `28, pending the official approval of the IOC in Lima, making Wednesday’s vote just a formality. IOC President Thomas Bach is already scheduled to light the Olympic caldron at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sunday.
Host cities are typically named seven years in advance, and L.A. was able to garner numerous financial concessions out of the IOC by agreeing to wait the extra four years.
Under the terms of the 2028 host city contract, the IOC would immediately 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.
“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 in August before the City Council voted on a new memorandum of understanding for `28.
“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.”
The city’s quest to host its third Games has been filled with plenty of twists and turns. L.A. initially competed along with Boston, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., to be the United States’ official bid city for the `24 Games before losing out to Boston in 2015. But later in the year, Boston dropped out due to growing local opposition and L.A jumped in.
The city entered the contest for `24 along with Paris, Hamburg, Rome and Budapest, but one by one cities dropped out, leaving only Paris and L.A.
Over the summer the IOC announced its desire to award both the `24 and `28 Games at the same time, if L.A. and Paris agreed. The decision was influenced by the soaring cost of hosting the Olympics and the fact that fewer cities have seemed willing to assume the financial risk.
Tokyo’s 2020 plan has already doubled to $12.6 billion, Rio de Janeiro is still struggling to pay off the debt from its $13 billion hosting duties in 2016, and the 2014 Games in Sochi ballooned from a budget of $12 billion to around $50 billion.
With both Los Angeles and Paris submitting bids widely seen as fiscally responsible, the IOC decided to lock them both in to hosting duties. After initial reports indicated that Paris was the favorite to host in `24, L.A. leaders indicated they were willing to host in `28.
LA 2028, the renamed committee leading the city’s bid, had proposed a balanced budget of $5.3 billion for `24 by utilizing existing venues and not building any new permanent structures just for the Games. Although an independent analysis of a budget for 2028 will not likely be completed for months, it is not expected to vary drastically in cost or approach and the L.A. City Council approved the switch to `28 in August despite not having a complete picture of the financial aspects of the decision.
Another unknown at the time of the vote was if the California Legislature would approve $250 million to help cover any potential cost overruns. State lawmakers had made the pledge for 2024, but after the switch to `28 a new bill needed to be drafted. AB 132, which promises $270 million, is currently making its way through the Legislature.
Under the `24 plan, the city would have covered the first $250 million in cost overruns, the state the next $250 million and the city anything after that. The $5.3 billion balanced budget for `24 included no money to be spent from the city’s general fund as organizers believe they could cover all costs from corporate sponsorships, ticket sales, broadcast rights and the IOC’s contribution.
The Coliseum and the new NFL stadium in Inglewood are set to share duties for the opening and closing ceremonies, part of a something old and something new” approach, as the Coliseum was the site of the ceremonies both in 1932 and 1984. Other venues in the city and nearby like the Staples Center and the Rose Bowl are also planed as sites for events, and the dorms at UCLA are set to be the site of the Olympic Village.
—City News Service
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