LA Considers Pros, Cons and Costs of 2024 Olympics Bid

Boston, the USOC's original pick to make a bid to the IOC, withdrew its bid earlier this year, opening the door for a third Los Angeles Olympics

Los Angeles took another step toward a bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics Friday when a City Council committee evaluated a proposed agreement with the U.S. Olympic Committee.

The agreement, which serves as a commitment by city leaders that they will pursue the Olympics, could go before the full council for a vote Friday after its review by the Ad Hoc Committee on the 2024 Summer Olympics. The agreement will also involve the city in another, more complicated contract that was drawn up between the USOC and LA24, the nonprofit organization leading the Los Angeles bid.

During Friday's committee review, members said they favor pursuing the bid and called for continued council oversight of the process.

The 70-page contract, along with the 200-page draft bid book, were released only this week. City leaders have little time to evaluate them before Sept. 15, the deadline for the USOC to submit its bid city to the International Olympic Committee.

A vote by the full city council is expected Tuesday.

"We are all big fans," said Council President Herb Wesson. "We want to bring the Olympics to this great city, we're optimistic we can do that. But we have a financial responsibility."

In an analysis of the material presented to the city, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana and Chief Legislative Analyst Sharon Tso recommended Thursday that the city stick to a set of principles if it chooses to move forward with the bid effort. They wrote that the city should ensure that "all agreements entered into and obligations made should fully protect the city's existing and future general fund base," and that the city should "maintain control over the decision-making processes on all issues that impact the operation of the city, its facilities and the quality of life for its residents."

They also recommended that "at no time will public funds be committed without the express authorization of the City Council and mayor," and the city should "make every effort to make the process and all related actions as transparent as possible."

They said that based on the information given to the city, "it is difficult to determine the fiscal impact and risk to the city of hosting the 2024 Games at this time." Santana and Tso did note that based on a preliminary review of the budget, one of the major capital projects, the Olympic Village, "may significantly exceed the projected $1 billion."

The Olympic Village would be next to the Los Angeles River in Lincoln Heights -- in a Union Pacific rail yard known as the "Piggyback Yard" -- and calls for track and field and the opening and closing ceremonies to be held at a newly renovated Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The bid also designates sports venue clusters in downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, the San Fernando Valley, coastal areas like Santa Monica, the area around UCLA and the South Bay.

At issue Friday might were such questions as whether the budget accurately estimates the potential costs. The city officials also were expected to look at a request by the USOC and the IOC that the city agree to pay for any cost overruns.

Other cities that have hosted the Olympic Games have signed onto this promise.

Boston, the USOC's original pick to make a bid to the IOC, withdrew after city leaders there refused to join the bid, citing the potential cost of the Games to taxpayers. Supporters of the bid have said they are not concerned by potential cost overruns, saying that unlike other cities, Los Angeles already has much of the needed sporting venues in place.

LA24 officials this week revealed that they are estimating the cost of hosting the 2024 Olympics in Los Angeles would be $4.1 billion, or $4.6 billion after a $400 million contingency fund and insurance are included. They are projecting that revenue from the Games will bring in $4.8 billion, resulting in a profit of $161 million going to LA24.

The budget anticipates that the International Olympic Committee will contribute $1.5 billion or 31 percent of the revenue, with domestic sponsorships and ticket revenue making up the other two-thirds.

The contracts and other bid materials will first be reviewed by the seven- member ad hoc committee, which is chaired by Wesson, with Councilman Gil Cedillo as vice chair. The other members are Councilmen Bob Blumenfield, Joe Buscaino, Paul Krekorian, Mitch O'Farrell and Curren Price.

Los Angeles previously hosted the Olympics in 1932 and 1984.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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