In Depth

Paris to stage the 2024 Olympics as LA settles for 2028

After weeks of talks Los Angeles agrees a deal to host the Games four years later than it wanted to

Los Angeles has officially declared its candidature to host the 2028 Olympics which means that the 2024 Games will almost certainly be staged in Paris. 

Both cities had been vying to stage the Olympics in seven years time but according to the LA Times, "after weeks of negotiations with the International Olympic Committee [IOC]" Los Angeles officials have reached a deal to host the 2028 event. 

"It has been certainly a roller coaster," LA bid chairman Casey Wasserman told the Times, who praised IOC officials for their "willingness to be thoughtful and creative".

Reaction in France to the news from the west coast of the States was euphoric with the front page of today's L'Equipe proclaiming "The joy is unfettered". It means that Paris will stage its second Olympics exactly a century after hosting its first Games.

The IOC had announced in June that it intended to name hosts for the 2024 and 2028 Games at the same time and with Paris and Los Angeles the only two contenders it was obvious both would be a host when the final decision was announced next month. The problem was both candidates had wanted to host the 2024 Games. 

Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti declared his satisfaction with the outcome, saying: "I can look people in the eye and say this is a much stronger deal financially… this deal was too good to pass up".

According to the LA Times, their city will benefit from the arrangement because they will have increased flexibility in selling domestic sponsorships in any categories and because IOC officials will "waive various payments that could ultimately save LA organizers tens of millions". 

Normally, host cities must start preparations immediately but do not receive the bulk of their IOC contributions until two years before the opening ceremony, but in the case of the 2028 Games the IOC has agreed to advance the city  $180m, which is "expected to cover the organising committee's costs for operating an extra four years and pump as much as $160m into youth sports throughout the city". 

In addition, the Times says that LA organisers have reached agreement with the IOC over the $487m contingency fund that is usually set aside to cover overrun costs. The paper says that if the 2028 Games finish at or under budget, the $487m contingency "would convert to a surplus… and LA officials have struck a deal to keep most of that money".

Mayor Garcetti and his LA organising committee must now renegotiate contracts with all the venues, many of whom had banked on hosting the 2024 Games, but speaking on Monday he said: "I want something for the people of LA now. I want the excitement to build."

LA denies conceding 2024 Olympics, but would settle for 2028

8 June

The organisers of the Los Angeles 2024 Olympic bid have denied conceding defeat to rivals Paris after bid leader Casey Wasserman said the city would be happy to stage the event in 2028. 

Speaking yesterday, Wasserman said: "LA 2024 has never been only about LA or 2024. Even when the issue of a dual award for the 2024 and 2028 Games was initially raised, we didn't say, 'It's LA first' or 'It's now or never' for LA. That sounds like an ultimatum.

"We could have used that strategy, but we didn't because we thought it was presumptuous to tell the IOC [International Olympic Committee] what to do and how to think. We're better partners than that."

Although the LA bid team have denied Wasserman's statement amounts to a concession to Paris, it has been interpreted as a pitch for the 2028 Games.

The IOC is expected this week to announce it will take the unusual step of choosing the host cities for both 2024 and 2028 at a meeting in Peru in September.

However, there has been an "apparent lack of interest in staging sport's biggest event, as well as years of bad publicity about spiralling costs and unused venues", reports the BBC.

In order to secure the future of the event, the committee will "consider taking advantage of these two strong bids [Paris and LA] by giving them a Games each".

Finding a host for 2024 has proved a struggle. "The attraction of hosting the Olympics has dimmed in recent years with huge expenses and redundant venues haunting the IOC," says The Guardian. "Hamburg, Rome, Budapest and Boston have all dropped out of the bidding process for 2024, partly due to protests from citizens concerned their cities would be saddled with debts."

Paris is adamant it wants the Games in 2024, the 100th anniversary of the last time it hosted the event. It also claims the site it has earmarked for the athletes' village will not be available after 2024.

Meanwhile, several IOC members are concerned about the presidency of Donald Trump, who could feasibly still be in office in 2024.

"For much of its campaign, LA 2024 has sought to play the role of the good guy, distancing itself from the arrogant 'ugly American' tag hung on previous unsuccessful US bids, says the LA Times.

"This stance becomes even more relevant at a time when President Trump has rankled leaders around the world.

"Wednesday's statement continued LA 2024's strategy while also serving as a thinly veiled dig at Paris, which has repeatedly pushed back against the idea of accepting 2028. But none of that diminishes that Wasserman clearly signalled a willingness to cooperate with the potential two-winner arrangement. The timing is significant."

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