Los Angeles City Council urged to approve Games deal

 06 Aug 2017 - 0:29

AFP

Los Angeles:  Los Angeles was a step closer to hosting the 2028 Olympics yesterday when the city council’s committee on the Olympics backed a deal to cede the 2024 Games to Paris and host four years later.
City council president Herb Wesson said at a council hearing yesterday that he wants the full council to vote as soon as next week on the host city contract (HCC) for 2028 -- even though that won’t allow time for independent analysis of exactly how the finances of a 2028 bid might differ from those put forward by Los Angeles bid officials when they were targeting the 2024 Games.
Los Angeles bid officials had been locked in a duel with Paris for the 2024, with the International Olympic Committee due to decide on the host in September.
On Monday, bid officials and Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti announced they had reached an agreement with the IOC to accept the 2028 Games, opening the door for Paris to host in 2024.
The bid committee had proposed a balanced budget of $5.3bn for 2024, which they insisted would be privately funded.
A city report released on Thursday by the Office of the City Administrative Officer and Office of the Chief Legislative Analyst outlined risks in shifting to 2028.
“The additional four years add uncertainty concerning future economic and political conditions,” the report said. “Although such uncertainty exists with the 2024 Olympic Games which will occur in seven years, the four-year extension increases those uncertainties.”
In addition to the lack of an independent analysis of a formal budget for 2028, another potential risk factor is that part of the ‘24 deal included a $250 million guarantee from the state of California to cover possible cost overruns.
With the legislature in recess, it is impossible to immediately guarantee they will approve the same amount for 2028.
Councilman Paul Krekorian, a member of the council’s ad-hoc Olympic committee, noted that the state money was approved by wide margins.
And he said financial concessions from the IOC meant that hosting in 2028 appeared to be an even better deal for Los Angeles.
“To me it seems very clear that this is a better package for the people of Los Angeles and it’s a safer package for the taxpayers and the budget of Los Angeles than we had for 2024, and that was a great package,” Krekorian said.
Bid committee chief Casey Wasserman said on Monday that the IOC had waived fees and payments that could ultimately save LA organizers millions of dollars.
The IOC will also advance $180m to LA organizers to lessen the impact of the longer leadup time.
The IOC has also agreed to contribute from $1.8bn to $2bn of its broadcast and sponsorship revenues to the Games -- more than the $1.7bn pledged to Paris in 2024 -- and agreed to funnel any profits it might be due from the Games back to the city.
If the LA city council and the US Olympic Committee approve the new deal, the IOC, Los Angeles and Paris aim to formalize a three-way agreement that will allow the IOC to award both the 2024 and 2028 Olympics when it meets in Lima, Peru, on September 13.
The next Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo.