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Olympic Games deal ‘very, very close’, claims LA Mayor

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has said he expects a resolution over the destinations of the 2024 and 2028 summer Olympic and Paralympic Games this week, adding that a deal is “very, very close”.

Earlier this month, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session voted unanimously to proceed with forming a tripartite agreement that will see the 2024 and 2028 Games awarded to Los Angeles and Paris. The IOC, LA 2024 and Paris 2024 have been engaged in negotiations in order to form a platform by which both events can be assigned at the 131st IOC Session on September 13 in Lima, Peru.

Talks have been directed towards which city will host which edition of the Games, with Paris seen to be the favourite for 2024. The French capital is seeking to stage the Olympics for the first time since 1924. If an agreement fails to be reached between the three parties, then a traditional voting process will take place in Lima on the 2024 Games only. 

Speaking on Friday, Garcetti (pictured) told the Southern California News Group that talks have proceeded smoothly. “We’re getting close, very, very close,” Garcetti said. “Our conversations have been going very well. This coming week we should probably have things (settled) but I thought two weeks ago we’d have (an agreement). Both cities have talked to them about ’24 and ’28, so ’24 is not off the table, but we have talked about what we would need to engage (for) ’28.”

With a Los Angeles City Council subcommittee on the city’s Olympic bid set to meet on Friday, Garcetti added: “I’m optimistic that an agreement could be reached by next Friday, for sure.”

From the LA side, any deal would need to be approved by the Los Angeles City Council, the executive board of the US Olympic Committee (USOC) and the IOC. If Los Angeles is to host the 2028 Games, city and state officials are likely to focus on additional financial concessions from the IOC in order to alleviate potential concerns over the 11-year window between Games award and delivery.

In January, Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to approve a host city contract that would allow the US city to host the 2024 Games. LA 2024 had announced a “balanced budget” of $5.3bn (€4.55bn) of revenue and $4.8bn of costs, as well as a $488m contingency fund, for the 2024 Games.

“One issue to consider, if the IOC provides financial inducements of some sort for 2028, is whether those inducements will make it less likely that the 2028 Games experience financial shortfalls,” Jason Sisney, the state’s chief deputy legislative analyst, said. “Whether Los Angeles hosts the 2024 or 2028 Games, there will be many twists and turns in executing the plan over the next seven or 11 years. Sticking to LA 2024’s bold, low-risk plan is likely to require strict discipline by bid organisers and the city, working cooperatively with the IOC and sports federations.

“With the state government as a possible financial partner for 2028, we at the LAO (Legislative Analyst’s Office) will be interested in whether any deal with the IOC increases the Games’ financial cushion. While the LA 2024 plan is refreshingly low-risk, we would be most pleased if the initial 2028 plan carries even less risk. The reason: 2028 is a considerably more distant option – with all the unknowns that come with that – and managing risk should continue to be a priority for both the city and the state.”