Re­port urges ap­proval of bid for Olympics

Doc­u­ment says City Coun­cil should OK 2028 Games de­spite un­cer­tain­ties.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By David Whar­ton

A re­port is­sued Wed­nes­day by key Los An­ge­les staff rec­om­mends the City Coun­cil ap­prove a 2028 Olympic bid de­spite in­com­plete in­for­ma­tion and the “greater un­cer­tainty” of com­mit­ting to the mas­sive sports event more than a decade in ad­vance.

The City Ad­min­is­tra­tive Of­fi­cer and Chief Leg­isla­tive An­a­lyst re­leased their 86page doc­u­ment only two days be­fore coun­cil mem­bers are ex­pected to vote on the mat­ter.

The re­port ac­knowl­edged the lack of an up­dated bud­get from the pri­vate LA 2028 bid com­mit­tee and the dif­fi­culty of fore­cast­ing “the fu­ture global, na­tional and lo­cal eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal con­di­tions.”

It said that new agree­ments be­tween the city, LA 28 and the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee would “pro­vide so­lu­tions to mit­i­gate the added risk.”

De­vel­op­ments sur­round­ing L.A.’s cam­paign to host the Sum­mer Games for a third time have moved at break­neck pace in re­cent weeks.

The rush be­gan in July when the IOC de­cided to change what had been a tra­di­tional race be­tween L.A. and Paris, both strong can­di­dates, to host in 2024. Olympic of­fi­cials an­nounced their in­ten­tion to also name the 2028 win­ner.

Ne­go­ti­a­tions re­sulted in Paris go­ing first and L.A.

agree­ing to wait four more years.

If, as ex­pected, IOC mem­bers rat­ify this ar­range­ment, the city will have to sign a host con­tract, agree­ing to act as a fi­nan­cial back­stop should the pri­vately run Games go over bud­get.

The City Coun­cil, which pre­vi­ously voted its sup­port for the 2024 bid, has been asked to re­con­sider the is­sue for 2028 and reach a de­ci­sion by mid-Au­gust so the IOC can pre­pare a re­port for its mem­bers.

“[The] process should start over, be­cause 2028 has a whole dif­fer­ent set of vari­ables at play,” said Jonny Cole­man, or­ga­nizer of the NO­lympics LA group. “And the 2028 plan needs to be vet­ted by economists, en­vi­ron­men­tal ex­perts, civil rights schol­ars and so forth be­fore they even think of putting this up for a vote.”

The CAO-CLA re­port noted the time frame does not al­low for LA 28 to present a re­vised bud­get. Staff nonethe­less rec­om­mended ap­proval based on other fac­tors.

The ini­tial 2024 plan had earned praise for us­ing ex­ist­ing sta­di­ums and are­nas to save money. Bid of­fi­cials have said no new con­struc­tion would be added for 2028.

At the same time, the IOC has agreed to in­crease its con­tri­bu­tion from an es­ti­mated $1.7 bil­lion to as much as $2 bil­lion. It will give L.A. a $180-mil­lion ad­vance on that amount, with an es­ti­mated $160 mil­lion of the pay­ments ear­marked for youth sports pro­grams.

LA 28 could save an ad­di­tional tens of mil­lions in waived Olympic fees and will not have to pay the IOC a cus­tom­ary 20% of any sur­plus should the Games turn a profit, as they did when L.A. hosted in 1984.

Still, city of­fi­cials were con­cerned enough to re­vise their “mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing,” a work­ing agree­ment with bid of­fi­cials and the U.S. Olympic Com­mit­tee. LA 28 agreed to take out ad­di­tional in­sur­ance should un­fore­seen cir­cum­stances force them to back out of the Games. And coun­cil mem­bers would have a say in con­trol­ling a larger por­tion of an es­ti­mated $487-mil­lion con­tin­gency fund for un­ex­pected ex­penses.

But the bid would pro­ceed with­out as­sur­ances of state back­ing.

Cal­i­for­nia leg­is­la­tors pre­vi­ously agreed to pro­vide $250 mil­lion for cost over­runs. That money would kick in only af­ter the city cov­ered the first $250 mil­lion.

The CAO-CLA re­port in­cluded let­ters from Se­nate Pres­i­dent Pro Tem Kevin de Leon (D-Los An­ge­les) and Assem­bly Speaker An­thony Ren­don (D-Para­mount) vow­ing to pur­sue a sim­i­lar bill for the 2028 Games.

State leg­is­la­tors do not ex­pect to re­visit the is­sue un­til next year.

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