Los Angeles leaders expected to vote on whether to pursue Olympics

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 01, 2015 9:04 AM

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Los Angeles City Council was expected to vote on Tuesday on whether to pursue a bid to bring the Summer Games to town in 2024 and potentially become the only city besides London ever to host the Olympics three times.

Mayor Eric Garcetti is solidly behind the campaign to host the 2024 Olympics, as is most of the city's business establishment, but some council members have raised concerns that Los Angeles could be on the hook for costs that exceed revenues.

Los Angeles has found itself as the most talked-about U.S. candidate city for the 2024 Summer Olympics - Rio de Janeiro hosts next year and Tokyo in 2020 - after officials in Boston took the Massachusetts capital out of contention.

Boston's mayor said he did not want to expose municipal taxpayers to the potential tab for mammoth cost overruns the games have left other host cities.

Los Angeles represents a possibly thrifty choice, in large part because officials say most prospective event venues for the games already exist, including Memorial Coliseum, which will be 101 years old in 2024.

The city and the coliseum previously played host to the Summer Games in 1932 and 1984. London in 2012 became the only metropolis to host the games three times.

"Los Angeles is the ideal Olympic city, and our existing world-class venues would make the games exciting, fiscally responsible and profitable," said Jeff Millman, a spokesman for LA24, the group formed to pursue an Olympic bid.

LA24, which is chaired by sports executive Casey Wasserman, has estimated hosting the games could cost $5.8 billion, which his group has pledged to shoulder with help from private sources.

A City Council committee on Friday voted unanimously to recommend partnering with LA24 and the U.S. Olympic Committee to pursue the games, setting the stage for the full council to vote on the question on Tuesday.

It is expected to approve the proposal, but council members have demanded a chance at some point in the future to vote on a final "host city" agreement with Olympic organizers before making an unbreakable commitment.

Paris, Hamburg, Budapest and Rome are already competing to host the 2024 Summer Games.

Andrew Zimbalist, author of "Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup," said in an email that Paris, which has not hosted a Summer Games since 1924, is a heavy favorite.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Steve Gorman and Eric Beech)