The International Olympic Committee (IOC) President was not on hand to tear open an envelope that declares Los Angeles the host city for the 2028 Olympic Games, but the LA 2024 Olympic bid leadership still celebrated at the StubHub Center as the Mayor announced that the Games will be returning to the city for the third time eleven years from now.
A deal, announced Monday, will see LA concede the 2024 games to Paris, instead accepting the 2028 Games including concessions of increased revenue-sharing payments and an advance of (USD) $180 million that will sustain an organizing committee for an additional four years and help fund youth sports in the city starting almost immediately.
The deal “will give us the seed of a new Olympic legacy,” LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said of the concessions at the scheduled press conference, “we can use that legacy right now instead of waiting until after the Games.”
Along with LA 2024 Chair Casey Wasserman, LA 2024 Vice-Chair Janet Evans, City Council President Herb Wesson and several Olympians, the Mayor took a victory lap, so to speak, marking the end of a four year Marathon.
“We are here today to make history, I’m proud to announce the Olympic Games are coming back to the United States of America. In 2028 we’re bringing the Games back to LA,” the Mayor said.
“We have won the greatest prize of all. We will host the Games here, in the City of Angels, again.”
City Council still needs to approve the deal and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) will need to sign off but Wesson assured that after a careful vetting Friday, the City Council Olympic group should be able to deliver a positive decision next week.
That will leave the IOC to rubber-stamp both Paris and Los Angeles as hosts of their allotted Games at an all-members Session in Lima, Peru September 13.
The Mayor said the bid has spoken to all IOC members and that there is no chance the decision will be reversed.
To mark the certainty, the LA 2024 bid committee changed the handles on its social media channels to LA 2028, including on Twitter and Facebook – and decorated the pages with a new 2028 branded logo.
Garcetti said he has been in regular contact with Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and French President Emmanuel Macron, texting him over the weekend, but that the negotiations were primarily between Wasserman and IOC officials. He said he hoped both cities would work together to prepare for their Games.
“No two cities have ever gone at the same time,” the Mayor said, adding that there were many opportunities for cooperation.
“This deal was too good to pass up,” he said, discounting the additional four-year wait as “delayed gratification.”
It will be the Unites States’ first Summer Games this century with the previous Games having been staged in Atlanta 32 years earlier in 1996. The U.S. hosted the Salt Lake City Winter Games in 2002.
Since then the U.S. had bid unsuccessfully with New York for 2012 and Chicago for 2016 before the USOC rebuilt its organization, making it a stronger bidder.
Los Angeles became a last-minute nomination by the USOC just days before the IOC application deadline when Boston, America’s original choice of host, cancelled its campaign. The mayor of the Massachusetts State capital pulled his backing from the bid when polling revealed that the project had less than 40 per cent public support.
Washington D.C. and San Francisco has also sought the USOC nomination during the domestic bid phase.
In all five cities, including Hamburg, Rome and Budapest applied to bid on the international stage but fears of cost over runs didn’t sit well with European tax payers. Hamburg dropped out when it narrowly lost a public referendum just weeks after the start of the campaign; Rome withdrew when the newly elected Mayor who had campaigned against the bid refused to continue funding it; and Budapest called it quits after a petition forced a referendum – and the Hungarian President believed it a political risk to engage in a vote prior to an election year.
With only two viable cities remaining, IOC President Thomas Bach launched an investigation into the possibility of awarding both cities future Games at the same time in order to eliminate any “losers.” At an extraordinary IOC Session in July the membership voted to back that plan leaving LA, Paris and the IOC to come to a tripartite agreement to determine the hosting order.
But it had always been expected that Paris would be the 2024 host as its planned Olympic Village will sit on land only available for 2024 before being converted to needed housing units. Additionally, 2024 marks the centenary of Paris’ last Olympic Games and Paris 2024 Co-Chair Tony Estanguet said he believes its time for the Games to return to Europe.
He said Monday “Paris 2024’s vision is built on sharing our project with every walk of society in France and beyond. It can rely on the unity of the five founding members to deliver – in coordination with the IOC – a fantastic centenary Games built on passion, purpose and engagement. We are ready for 2024.
“We are now looking forward to the opportunity of working with Los Angeles, and contributing to successful Games both in 2024 and 2028 ”
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said “Paris and Los Angeles are two amazing global cities that are united in their support of the Olympic cause and we stand together now to help the Games thrive in 2024 and 2028.”
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.