Los Angeles City Council Vote Clears Path For LA 2024 Olympic Bid To Move Forward

The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to unanimously approve the final plans needed for the city to bid for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

LA 2024 Chair Casey Wasserman and Chief Gene Sykes were joined by more than 50 Olympians from seven nations for historic City Council vote approving bid plans (LA 2024 Twitter Photo)

Among the items included in the approval, by a 13-0 vote, are detailed documents required by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by February 3 that outline venue proposals and financial guarantees, and approval for the Mayor Eric Garcetti to sign the host city contract should Los Angeles be elected to host the 2024 Olympics during a meeting of IOC members later this year.

Bid Chair Casey Wasserman described the vote as “historic” in a Tweet shortly after the results were announced.

The authority given to sign the host city contract, in effect allowing the city to accept full financial responsibility for organizing the Games including any cost over runs, is a key milestone for the bid.  Past U.S. based bids have been challenged with this issue – most recently when Boston’s bid for these same 2024 Games was ended when Mayor Marty Walsh backed away from the responsibility amid public pressure.

“The partnership between LA 2024, the City and the USOC is the strongest of any of the US bids I have been involved with,”  United States Olympic Committee (USOC) CEO Scott Blackmun said, “it has allowed us to construct a comprehensive set of guarantees for the IOC, whilst simultaneously minimizing risk for the City and LA 2024 through the use of existing assets.”

The financial guarantees are possible due to the bid’s plans to use all existing or already-planned venues and infrastructure – with no requirements for new construction projects.

“LA 2024 has been able to present a rigorous, realistic and balanced budget with $5.3 billion of revenue and $4.8 billion cost, as well as $488 million contingency. This budget was independently assessed and ratified by KPMG,” the bid said in a statement Wednesday.

The city council backing confirms the endorsement of the two-stadium opening and closing ceremony concept that was a solution to appease some councilors who were against having the marquee event held only in the new Inglewood football stadium, outside L.A. borders.

The vote marks the final major city council hurdle and is the result of over a year of negotiations over the Olympic bid that has gained 88 per cent support of Los Angeles area residents.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said “the IOC’s Host City Contract is our promise that Los Angeles is ready to host an outstanding and fiscally responsible Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

“If LA is selected as the 2024 Host City, our low-risk, high-tech and sustainable Games will inspire the next generation to grow the Olympic Movement and provide social and economic benefits for our communities. Today’s City Council approval is its 14th unanimous vote in support of LA 2024 — and it shows that our City is united to bring the Games back to L.A.”

LA City Council President Herb Wesson said “when ambitious, progressive cities like Los Angeles have a once-in-a-generation opportunity like the LA 2024 Olympic and Paralympic bid, we owe it to our communities to support the endeavor.”

“On behalf of the City Council, we are comfortable with the level of protection LA 2024 has built into its plans, and today’s unanimous vote reflects that. More importantly, our commitment reflects the desire of an overwhelming majority of Angelenos to share our diverse and energetic city with the world.”

After the submission deadline, LA 2024 will prepare for a three-day visit of the IOC Evaluation Commission starting April 23 that will allow experts to review the bid’s plans and conduct site inspections of proposed venues.

All of L.A.’s venues are either built, planned or will require only temporary installations which will enable the team to get a good look at the concept.

The bid team will also be required to introduce the concept during a presentation to Summer Olympic Sport Federations on April 4 and will then provide a technical briefing to IOC members and other stakeholders starting July 11 in Lausanne, Switzerland.  The final vote is to be held at an IOC Session September 13 in Lima, Peru.

L.A. is competing with Budapest and Paris to host the Games in  2024.

About Robert Livingstone

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.