Story by the Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles is close to reaching an agreement with the U.S. Olympic Committee to be America’s candidate for the 2024 Summer Games, pledging to host the event at a projected cost of approximately $4 billion and offering a guarantee that the city would cover any financial overruns, officials involved with the bid said Monday.
In an interview with The Times’ editorial board Monday morning, Mayor Eric Garcetti said he is pushing in his effort to secure L.A.’s slot as the U.S. bidder. The opportunity opened up unexpectedly last month after Boston, which the USOC chose as host city over L.A. in January, backed out amid concerns about financial risk associated with the Games.
“I think it is right for this city. I think it’s who we are,” Garcetti said. “I think we benefit from it economically, socially.”
Garcetti and sports agent Casey Wasserman — who has been heavily involved in preparing L.A.’s Olympic bid and also spoke to The Times editorial board Monday — said the city’s proposal would be “dead on arrival” if it did not include a pledge that the city would bear expenses from cost overruns or revenue shortfalls.
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh cited his reluctance to make such a promise shortly before his city’s bid collapsed two weeks ago.
Garcetti said that while he cannot promise that the Olympics would not ultimately entail a cost for L.A., he anticipates that the city would make a profit, in part because it could use many existing venues from the 1984 Summer Games rather than paying to build new ones.
“I cannot eliminate risk,” Garcetti said. However, he added, “On the one-to-five hot scale, one being the coldest, my personal assessment, for what it’s worth, is about a one.”
The roughly $4-billion cost projection does not include a $400-million contingency fund, which would bring the Games’ overall budget to about $4.5 billion. Garcetti and Wasserman said Monday they would need to check with USOC officials before releasing a detailed breakdown of their anticipated budget.
The International Olympic Committee typically makes a large contribution to offset the event’s cost. For the 2016 Summer Games in Rio, that amount will be about $1.5 billion.
Garcetti said Monday that L.A. is still negotiating some details with the USOC, which must make a decision about a new host city by mid-September. Asked whether the opportunity was L.A.’s if the city wanted it, Garcetti said, “I believe so.”