The U.S. Olympic Committee announced today it is working to finalize terms for Los Angeles to become the nation’s bidder to host the 2024 Summer Games.
If a deal is reached, Los Angeles would replace Boston, which dropped its bid over concerns about cost overruns. USOC officials said they hope to have details finalized by the end of the month, ahead of a Sept. 15 deadline to submit a bidder to the International Olympic Committee.
The USOC made the announcement following a board meeting in Colorado.
Scott Blackmun, CEO of the USOC, said a recent poll by the committee of Los Angeles residents found that 81 percent support the city bidding for the Games — far surpassing the support that was seen in Boston. USOC officials also said the cost concerns that led Boston to back out of the bid were not an issue in Los Angeles.
The announcement by the USOC essentially pushes out San Francisco and Washington, D.C., which were also bidding for the Games.
Mayor Eric Garcetti and businessman Casey Wasserman created a nonprofit group called LA24 to lead the effort to bring the Olympics back to Los Angeles. The group began talks earlier this month with USOC officials, Garcetti senior adviser Jeff Millman said.
Garcetti said recently that Los Angeles would be the most financially prudent option for hosting the Olympics, since “we have almost everything built, and that’s what distinguishes us from other cities.”
“Other cities would have to build stadiums, like the Coliseum, Staples Center, Stub Hub Center, the Forum … ” he said.
“The reason a year ago I put Los Angeles forward is because I believe this is the financially responsible way and a way to re-energize this city. This is who we are, it is our destiny,” he said.
LA24 officials estimated in December that it will cost $4.1 billion to host the Olympics in Los Angeles, Millman said. The proposed budget also calls for a $400 million contingency to cover any cost overruns or shortfalls, which brings the total up to $4.5 billion, he said.
If Los Angeles is chosen as America’s bidder, it could be up against potential foreign bidders such as Rome; Nairobi, Kenya; Casablanca, Morocco; Johannesburg and Durban, South Africa; Doha, Qatar; Melbourne, Australia; Paris; Hamburg, Germany; and St. Petersburg, Russia.
The United States did not make a bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, which were awarded to Tokyo in 2013. Los Angeles sought to be the U.S. candidate to host the 2016 Games but was beaten by Chicago, whose bid was ultimately rejected by the International Olympic Committee in favor of Rio de Janeiro.
Los Angeles is looking to join London as the only cities to host the Summer Olympics three times. Los Angeles was the site of the 1932 and 1984 Games.
The Summer Olympics were last held in the United States in 1996, when Atlanta was the site.