Business & Economy

LA leaders still eyeing financial risks of a 2024 Olympics

Artist rendering of LA 2024's proposed aquatics venue.
Artist rendering of LA 2024's proposed aquatics venue.
Courtesy LA 2024

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As L.A. campaigns to host a 2024 Olympics, city council members are negotiating protections to keep the city from going over budget should it be chosen.

Ever since Los Angeles entered its bid to host the games, there have been lingering concerns about potential cost overruns. In the past three decades, nearly all the host cities have gone over budget and were responsible for paying back millions of dollars. 

L.A. lawmakers have pledged not to let that happen if their city is chosen. Some lawmakers are now working through the finer details to make sure there are more backstops in place.

The state recently agreed to cover the city's first $250 million in cost overruns. In addition, the LA2024 committee is expected to insure each sports venue up to $10 million. 

L.A. lawmakers are also negotiating with neighboring cities where the LA2024 bid committee has proposed that several Olympic sports be played. Santa Monica would host beach volleyball, Anaheim would be home to indoor volleyball, and six sports would be played in Long Beach. 

Council President Herb Wesson said he wants to ensure that those cities not only share the rewards of landing an Olympic bid - but also share in the risk. 

"You want to work out agreements with those cities that in event something were to occur that they would be responsible," Wesson said, explaining that he is concerned that say, if someone trips in the sand at the beach volleyball venue in Santa Monica or there’s a fire at the rugby stadium in Carson, that L.A. would be on the hook for damages. He said L.A. is currently in talks with other cities to hold those cities liable.

“They would be responsible for that cost totally is what we’re trying to negotiate," he said. "At this point, that does not appear to be a problem."

Wesson said the goal is to make money off these Olympics, but added "it is not intelligent to assume that, so we want to put in place several protections."

An Olympic ad hoc committee, made up of Wesson and a few other council members, meet periodically to review developments with the 2024 bid. On Friday, they'll review a report on financial risk management from the city's Chief Administrative Officer. In December the full council is expected to receive a detailed Olympic budget for their approval.

The International Olympic Committee will announce the winning host city in September.