LA 2028 Hurries To Collect Approvals That Will Seal IOC’s Double-Allocation

Los Angeles’ now-fledgling bid to host the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games is retracing old footsteps trying to catch up to its former self when the city was seeking to host the 2024 edition of the events.  The bid switched gears last week when it announced it had struck a deal with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to instead host in 2028 and accept financial consolations that would clear the way for rival Paris to stage in 2024.

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti announces deal that brings the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games to his city (Facebook Live)

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti announces deal that brings the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games to his city (Facebook Live)

The IOC approved a 2024 and 2028 double-allocation last month allowing for both cities to host the Games next decade.

While the Games Masterplan and other details contained withing three volumes of bid books will remain mostly unchanged, approvals and guarantees that were negotiated for the 2024 time frame need to be revisited and then resealed before the IOC is expected to rubber-stamp the host-city agreement September 13 in Lima.

This week the State of California has agreed to the same financial support legislation for 2028 that it had granted for 2024, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said in a letter Monday, according to the Los Angeles Times.  The legislation takes the form of a guarantee for cost overruns up to (USD) $250 million that is only paid if plans slip over budget.  LA 2028 claims that a draw on the guarantee is unlikely since the privately funded project relies on existing venues and infrastructure and the new deal with the IOC will provide over $2 billion in funding along with additional sponsorship opportunities.

LA 2028 also has a large contingency amount built into its own accounting to cover any unanticipated expenses in the total $5.3 billion budget. A new bill, however, will need to be enacted to cover 2028 instead.

LA City Council discussed the support package from the State last week and Councillor Paul Krekorian said they should consider increasing the amount to account for inflation.

“It occurs to me that as we’re talking to the Legislature, perhaps we should discuss with them a similar increase because of the additional cost,” he said.

Reportedly, LA 2028 has yet to request funding and guarantees in excess of the 2024 levels.

LA 2024 Proposed Budget (LA 2024 Handout)

LA 2024 Proposed Budget (LA 2024 Handout)

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles City Council could vote on an agreement to host the 2028 Games this week after a meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Summer Olympics occurs Friday.  The City Council will have to approve the newly drawn host city contract and a Memorandum of Understanding with a future LA 2028 organizing committee, assuring City Council involvement in the Games.

This would happen before the completion of financial reports and a detailed vetting of a new 2028 budget.

The 2024 budget was prepared over months and received a thumbs-up from accounting firm KPMG, and little has changed in the plans except for the increase in the IOC contribution.  However increased costs accounting for inflation, and costs associated with the additional four-year wait including additional operating burn and possible venue upgrades that may be required due to aging, needs to be assessed.

Bid CEO Gene Sykes said full reports won’t be finalized for months.

Yet the bid needs to get domestic approval from all governments and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) by mid-August in order to keep on target for the Lima vote next month.

Some, including the NOlympics LA bid opposition group are balking over the city’s detour from the standard process to hurry through an approval, yet others, including 83 per cent of Angelenos who responded in a poll last month that they would support a 2028 Games, don’t seem to mind.

Things are calmer in Paris this week as the French capital is virtually assured of hosting the 2024 Games when the IOC decides next month.  Instead of campaigning or seeking approvals, bid Co-Chair Tony Estanguet has promised to consider the inclusion of esports on the Paris 2024 program, as a way to get more youth involved in the Olympic Games.

About Robert Livingstone

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of 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.