‘NOTH­ING IS PER­FECT’:

Amid the giddy speeches and con­grat­u­la­tions, a dose of re­al­ity.

Los Angeles Times - - FRONT PAGE - By David Whar­ton

The mood was nearly giddy among Olympic ath­letes and city of­fi­cials who gath­ered Mon­day at StubHub Cen­ter.

Lo­cal bid lead­ers had called a news con­fer­ence to for­mally an­nounce a deal with the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee that would pave the way for bring­ing the 2028 Sum­mer Games to South­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

“This is a big win for Los An­ge­les,” bid chair­man Casey Wasser­man said.

But as terms of the agree­ment emerged, City Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Herb Wesson in­jected a dose of re­al­ity amid the ex­cited speeches and con­grat­u­la­tions.

“Noth­ing is per­fect,” Wesson said. “So we are not go­ing to please ev­ery­one.”

It prob­a­bly will be more than a decade be­fore any­one knows for cer­tain if L.A. struck a good bar­gain with the IOC.

Bid lead­ers had sought con­ces­sions for tak­ing 2028 and let­ting ri­val Paris go first in 2024. There had been spec­u­la­tion about Olympic lead­ers hand­ing over a lump sum of money — through a big­ger slice of their broad­cast and spon­sor­ship rev­enues — in ex­change for L.A. wait­ing around another four years.

In­stead, the host city con­tract made pub­lic Mon­day sug­gests a more nu­anced ar­range­ment.

“There is so much that could hap­pen … and not hap­pen,” said Jules Boykoff, a po­lit­i­cal sci­ence pro­fes­sor at Pa­cific Univer­sity in

Ore­gon who has stud­ied the busi­ness of the Olympic move­ment.

The deal in­cludes some cer­tain­ties.

Olympic lead­ers agreed to waive var­i­ous pay­ments that should save L.A. tens of mil­lions of dol­lars. The IOC will also hand over a $180-mil­lion ad­vance over the next five years to pay for or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee op­er­a­tions and help fund youth sports pro­grams city­wide.

But from the start, it seemed un­likely that the IOC would give away too much cash, if only be­cause it could not af­ford to set that kind of prece­dent with sub­se­quent bid­ders.

Wasser­man, Mayor Eric Garcetti and Gene Sykes, the bid com­mit­tee’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, in­stead fo­cused on cre­at­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for po­ten­tial fu­ture rev­enue.

The spon­sor­ship ar­range­ment they ne­go­ti­ated could re­sult in L.A. receiving an IOC con­tri­bu­tion of $2 bil­lion or more — a sub­stan­tial jump from the es­ti­mated $1.7 bil­lion that Paris will get in 2024.

And L.A. per­suaded the IOC to waive its usual 20% of any sur­plus gen­er­ated by the Games.

That could prove valu­able with a 2028 plan that seeks to save bil­lions in con­struc­tion costs by us­ing ex­ist­ing venues such as the Coli­seum, Pauley Pav­il­ion and Staples Cen­ter.

If or­ga­niz­ers can gen­er­ate a sur­plus of $500 mil­lion or so, as they have qui­etly pre­dicted, the ex­tra per­cent­age from the IOC would to­tal $100 mil­lion.

“I think Garcetti, Wasser­man and Sykes have, from the very be­gin­ning, man­aged this thing re­ally well,” said An­drew Zim­bal­ist, an econ­o­mist at Smith Col­lege in Mas­sachusetts who has been a critic of past bids. “They are just re­ally tal­ented and have played their cards right.”

Zim­bal­ist also be­lieves L.A. found a way to emerge vic­to­ri­ous from a sit­u­a­tion in which it might have lost to Paris for the 2024 Games.

The French cap­i­tal rep­re­sented a sen­ti­men­tal choice af­ter two close losses in re­cent bid­ding cy­cles. It of­fered an ad­di­tional, com­pelling nar­ra­tive be­cause 2024 will mark 100 years since it lasted hosted the Games in 1924.

The econ­o­mist of­fered one more rea­son L.A. might have fallen short: “Don­ald Trump.”

Boykoff views the sit­u­a­tion from a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive, cit­ing a re­cent IOC fi­nan­cial re­port that listed $3.2 bil­lion in as­sets ver­sus $1.2 bil­lion in li­a­bil­i­ties.

“There’s plenty of money float­ing around,” he said. “My guess is L.A. could have squeezed a lit­tle bit more.”

The po­lit­i­cal sci­ence pro­fes­sor also was trou­bled by the speed with which L.A. and Olympic lead­ers made their deal.

It was only last month that IOC mem­bers voted to ap­prove the dual-award sce­nario.

L.A. must still have its agree­ment ap­proved by city and state leg­is­la­tors, who pre­vi­ously voted to pro­vide fi­nan­cial back­stops for 2024, but there was no time for pub­lic fo­rums on switch­ing to 2028.

Op­po­nents of the L.A. bid have ques­tioned why so much time and ef­fort — if not money — is be­ing de­voted to a sport­ing event while the city faces wide­spread prob­lems such as home­less­ness.

“If I were a res­i­dent of Los An­ge­les,” Boykoff said, “I would want another chance to talk about all this.”

Such con­cerns could be eased if, like the 1984 Los An­ge­les Games, the 2028 ver­sion fin­ishes with a large sur­plus that could be spent on pub­lic pro­grams for years af­ter­ward.

That is what Garcetti, Wasser­man and Sykes en­vi­sioned as they made their deal with the IOC.

Whether or not they will suc­ceed re­mains to be seen.

Allen J. Sch­aben Los An­ge­les Times

MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI speaks in front of a group in­clud­ing L.A. bid chair­man Casey Wasser­man, left, and for­mer Olympian Janet Evans, right. A1

Mel Mel­con Los An­ge­les Times

BRANDEE McCONELL of Ro­seville, Calif., ges­tures to­ward her son Bray­don Coon be­fore snap­ping his pic­ture Mon­day at the Coli­seum, which in 2028 will again host the Olympics.

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