The Los Angeles 2024 Olympic Bid Committee has scheduled a news conference for 8 p.m. ET on Monday at the StubHub Center, where Mayor Eric Garcetti is expected to announce the city has reached an agreement with the International Olympic Committee to host the 2028 Games.
The decision means Paris will host the 2024 Olympics and marks the return of the Summer Games to the United States for the first time since 1996 in Atlanta. Los Angeles (1932, 1984, 2028) and Paris (1900, 1924, 2024) will join London as the only cities to host three Olympic Games.
Both Games will be officially awarded at the 130th IOC session in Lima, Peru, on Sept. 13.
The agreement was first reported by the Los Angeles Times and confirmed by ESPN.
The path to an unprecedented double award was paved last month in Switzerland, where the IOC membership unanimously approved the executive board’s recommendation to give the 2024 and 2028 Games to the two candidate cities remaining, Paris and Los Angeles. After that vote, Garcetti and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo joined hands on the stage in celebration.
For the past three weeks, leaders from both bids and the IOC have negotiated the terms of a dual-bid allocation. Paris leaders have long said they could host in 2024 because the land where they plan to build the Olympic Village would be available for those Games only. Los Angeles officials publicly stated a preference for 2024 but expressed a willingness to host in 2028 if the IOC made the risk that comes with waiting four more years worthwhile.
“I don’t want the Olympics at any price,” Garcetti told ESPN in June. “I won’t accept these Games if they put the city in debt or at risk. I won’t do it if there’s not a genuine human legacy and instead it’s just a vanity party for 2 1/2 weeks.”
Though the details of the agreement have not been made public, Garcetti hinted earlier this week that negotiations were heading in the right direction.
“They are making it financially — and we are negotiating this — so attractive we would be stupid not to take 2028,” he told Buzzfeed.
In September 2015, Garcetti stood at Santa Monica Beach and officially announced that Los Angeles had replaced Boston as the U.S. candidate city for 2024. At the time, the grassroots #NoBostonOlympics campaign raised questions about the taxpayer cost of hosting the Games; public approval plummeted, torpedoing Boston’s bid. The USOC quickly turned to Los Angeles, where an independent poll found that 88 percent of residents were in favor of hosting the Games.
Los Angeles was a late addition to a field that included not only Paris but also Budapest, Hungary; Hamburg, Germany; and Rome. One by one, over the course of the next two years, Budapest, Hamburg and Rome all bagged their bids under mounting public pressure.
It was another PR disaster for the IOC, which has found fewer and fewer cities willing to host the Olympics. Two years ago, six European cities backed out of their bids for the 2022 Winter Games, leaving Almaty, Kazakhstan, and Beijing as the final candidates. Beijing eventually won.
So when the IOC Evaluation Commission reported that Paris and Los Angeles offered two of the strongest, most fiscally responsible bids the IOC has seen, IOC president Thomas Bach floated the idea of a dual-bid allocation. After the executive board approved the recommendation in June, Bach said more than likely the stronger bid would host second.
Los Angeles’ privately funded $5.3 billion budget includes no new permanent venues. It instead benefits from an infrastructure boom in Southern California, including the $2.8 billion future home of the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and Chargers and the new LAFC soccer stadium. USC has pre-existing plans for a $270 million renovation of the historic Memorial Coliseum, and UCLA’s dorms will house the athletes’ village. Games rights-holder NBC Universal has pledged to construct the media compound on its lot, with future plans to convert it into a movie studio.
The Los Angeles City Council has pledged to contribute $250 million to cost overruns. The state of California has agreed to the same, but only if LA 2024’s private insurance is unable to cover the additional costs.
Garcetti said he doesn’t anticipate needing any public funds. The 1984 Los Angeles Games are the only Olympics in modern history to run at a profit.
“The cost to taxpayers to put this plan together is nothing,” Garcetti said. “There’s risk. Eyes wide open, it could be something. But I’m close to 100 percent confident.”
The decision to wait four more years likely brings with it additional risk. That’s four more years where the economy can change or something like an earthquake or major terrorist attack could drastically alter the sports landscape. And although public opinion in Los Angeles currently supports hosting the Games, that’s four more years for Olympic opponents to galvanize dissent.
Through his negotiations, Garcetti was hopeful the IOC would help continue the tradition of the LA84 Foundation and make youth sport free for all children in the city.
“That to me is something that I think they need to be able to help us design,” he said. “That is a good message for the Olympics. That is a good message for our Games. And it’s a great thing for the health of our city and our world.
“I’m as anxious as anyone to have the party as soon as possible. But what’s really important is the life of your city, the opportunity for your residents. If I can do something for my city, I have to look at, What’s the better deal?”
The answer, it appears, is 2028.