Though the issue was discussed Friday by an Ad Hoc Committee hastily assembled last Wednesday, the full city council will not vote on a possible Los Angeles 2024 Olympic bid until Tuesday, September 1. It is expected that city council will then give Mayor Eric Garcetti approval to execute any agreements related to an Olympic bid including a joinder agreement with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the controversial Host City Agreement with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The Host City Agreement, when signed, commits municipal taxpayer dollars to support any cost overages in bid-related projects.
The USOC requires this approval in order to move forward with a nomination that will put L.A. in the running to bid for the Games against Budapest, Hamburg, Paris and Rome.
Earlier this week a report released by bid CEO Casey Wasserman indicated that officials were confident of a financial surplus of as much as $161 million, and on Friday Garcetti told reporters he was more concerned about how to spend the profits than the possibility of any deficit.
On Thursday a 19-page analyst’s report raised several questions and expressed concerns that costs may be underestimated. Regarding the Olympic Village, the most costly venue in the bid, the analyst said that current property owner Union Pacific had no current plans to vacate the area. This land would need to be purchased to move forward with the project.
Bid officials cautioned that it is still early in the process and changes to the plans should be expected.
Meanwhile at the committee hearing Wasserman revealed that L.A was the USOC leadership’s first choice ahead of Boston to bid for the Games when the decision was made in January.
He said “it was both the staff, the chairman and the CEO’s recommendation to have L.A. be the city for the USOC. They decided, though, that they wanted the board to decide that, not the chairman and CEO to recommend that and sort of deem that.”
“But, a board is a board, and they let that board vote.
“There are a bunch of athletes based in Boston on that board, and a couple of executives on the board, and Boston in their mind was a new, fresh city. The one thing about L.A. is this would be our third time hosting, and the USOC, and the most important thing they do, other than train athletes, is bid for Games and they had gotten some insight from the IOC that maybe a new city would be a better way to approach that.
“But the truth is, a new city with a plan that’s not feasible is not a good city to bid with.”
The USOC dropped Boston’s bid last month amid poor public support and the mayor’s second-thoughts prior to re-engaging Los Angeles as the possible U.S. nomination.
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.