LA finalizes its bid for 2024 Olympics

Phillip Dane

The city of Los Angeles officially committed to plans to host the 2024 Olympics Wednesday, as the City Council voted unanimously to enter into a hosting agreement with the International Olympic Committee.

The agreement puts the city on the hook for any cost overruns produced by the games—a potentially risky proposition given recent history. But the city’s bid leaders are confident that LA will be able to deliver a fiscally responsible, and even profitable, games if selected as host city (Paris and Budapest are also still in the running).

“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,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Part of that optimistic financial outlook comes from the fact that LA plans to make very few of the costly infrastructure investments that have brought other host cities to the brink of bankruptcy. The city’s plan for the games relies mainly on venues that already exist or are in construction. Events that require very specific infrastructure, like BMX, would be staged in temporary facilities.

LA’s bid leaders project the games will cost $4.8 billion, with revenue totaling $5.3 billion. When the city last hosted, in 1984, the games produced a surplus of $232.5 million.

The timing of the council’s vote coincided with a series of aggressively isolationist announcements from President Donald Trump. Though Trump has said he will cooperate with the city in its bid for the games, some have speculated that his controversial stances on immigration and refugee assistance will turn off IOC voters.

Also complicating matters is Trump’s promise to cut federal funding to “sanctuary cities.” Though LA has made fiscal responsibility a hallmark of its bid, any unresolved questions about federal support might not play to the city’s favor.

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