LA Mayor Claims “We’d Be Stupid Not To Take 2028” Olympic Games, Leaving 2024 for Paris

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti Wednesday said that the negotiations are going so well with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that the city is most likely to accept the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games leaving rival bidder Paris unopposed to host in 2024.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks to the press in May, 2017 (GamesBids Photo)

“[The IOC is] making it financially – we’re negotiating this because we have some leverage – financially so attractive that we’d be stupid not to take 2028,” Garcetti said at a BuzzFeed event.

Last month the IOC voted to elect both 2024 and 2028 Olympic host cities at the same time at its Session to be held in Lima, Peru in September, drawing from the remaining two candidates in the race.  Hamburg, Rome and Budapest already dropped their bids over cost and risk concerns, continuing a trend by bid cities since it was announced that the Sochi 2014 Winter Games price tag rose to USD $51 billion.

The IOC felt it prudent to lock in Paris and Los Angeles immediately after they both presented strong plans that represent a new, sustainable direction for the Olympic Games.  Both cities, however, had expressed that their bids are only for 2024, and not the later Games in 2028

Paris has been considered the most likely pick to hold the earlier Games after officials contended that the land for the Olympic Village along the River Seine is only available now, and construction for needed housing cannot wait to accommodate a 2028 occupancy.  2024 also marks the 100th anniversary of the last time Paris hosted the Games.

“Twenty-four is probably most likely not going to happen [for LA] even though the Olympics would be smart to pick us for ’24 – because LA has already rebooted the brand,” Mayor Garcetti said.

He added “It’s funny, America has never won a competitive bid for the Summer Games except for Atlanta.  We always get it because no one else is left.  In 1932 it was the Great Depression, LA’s like ‘we’ll do it’ and literally they’re like, ‘where’s LA’ and they said ‘ok, give it to them’.

“But after the Olympics there is usually a line of cities that want to do it and so, the sooner the better.”

Garcetti said, however, in a concessionary tone that his city will likely accept the 2028 edition.

“Next week we’ll announce our intentions if we are to go for ’28 instead of ’24, Paris will get the other.”

Garcetti had hinted months ago that if he were to accept the 2028 consolation he would seek a financial incentive that could come in the form of funding for youth sports.  IOC President Thomas Bach rebuked those comments instead suggesting that awarding of the Games was a gift that should be accepted without reward because it would save the city the cost and risk of having to bid again.

IOC President Thomas Bach (centre) with LA Mayor Eric Garcetti (left) and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo celebrating double-allocation approval (IOC Photo)
IOC President Thomas Bach (centre) with LA Mayor Eric Garcetti (left) and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo celebrating double-allocation approval (IOC Photo)

But the Mayor alluded that those options were still on the table Wednesday when he said “My dream with the Olympics is not just to hold the Olympics but to make sports free for every kid here starting in a year or two through our city’s rec and park program … which would make us the healthiest city in America.”

“The bid is all but done, we have won.”

Bach said after a June 12 meeting that he hopes to strike a tripartite deal by August.  If an announcement comes next week, the city accepting the 2028 Games would be asked to withdraw from the 2024 race, leaving the other city to be elected unopposed.  A new 2028 campaign would be opened in fast-forward mode requiring adjustments to the bid documents, the host city contract, and the formation of an evaluation commission to vet proceedings.

In Lima on September 13 two separate votes would then occur, one to confirm the 2024 host city and another for 2028.

Both cities will be hosting their third Olympic Games, matching only London in staging the most Games.  Eleven years for the 2028 host city will be the longest preparation window ever for an Olympic Games.

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.

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