SBD/March 8, 2013/Olympics

L.A. Mayor Informs USOC City Wants To Bid To Host '24 Summer Olympics

Villaraigosa said area leaders are showing enthusiastic interest about the Games
The city of L.A. has "notified Olympic officials that it wants to host yet another Summer Games," according to a front-page piece by David Wharton of the L.A. TIMES. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa sent a letter to the USOC "confirming that civic, business and community leaders have lined up to express their 'enthusiastic interest' in bidding for the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics." That would bring the event "back to the site where it took place in 1932 and 1984." With a new revenue-sharing plan in place between the USOC and IOC, L.A. officials "believe they have a shot." L.A. Memorial Coliseum could "once again house the opening ceremony and track and field, with other events taking place at newer sites" such as Staples Center, Home Depot Center and Honda Center. If the USOC were to proceed, it would "have to select a city and submit its application in 2015." The IOC is "expected to choose the 2024 host in late 2017" (L.A. TIMES, 3/8). In California, Scott Reid notes a "privately-funded Los Angeles bid would emphasize the city's Olympic history ... the region's cultural diversity, and an extensive network of existing facilities stretching from downtown Los Angeles into Orange County." Disney Chair & CEO Robert Iger, AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke, Mattel Chair Bryan Stockton, Basketball HOFer Magic Johnson, actor Tom Hanks and former Olympic swimmer Janet Evans "all signed a letter to the USOC supporting a Los Angeles bid" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 3/8). In L.A., Jill Painter notes the city is "believed to be the first ... to throw its hat in the ring." Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games President David Simon said, "We have a wealth of existing facilities and not just facilities that existed when we hosted in '84. For the most part, there are existing facilities, but back then we didn't have Staples Center, Home Depot, Honda Center, and now you've got the Galen Center. We really have a lot of new buildings and there's even talk of some more in the coming years" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 3/8).

PERCEPTION VS REALITY: BOSTON magazine's Chris Vogel wrote there is "no doubt that the idea of hosting the Olympics sounds cool." But the "reality of hosting the Olympics is actually pretty grim." First, consider the "economics of hosting the Olympics." The Games can generate about $6B in revenue, with "roughly half of that" going to the IOC, but the "cost of the event can run three to six times that amount." Boston at the moment would "need to build a Village and add about 15,000 hotel rooms, not to mention beef up the aging subway and train system." And it is "reasonable to assume that the city would construct venues to host the opening ceremony as well as a diving and swimming center." Vogel: "But what happens when the event leaves town?" (BOSTONMAGAZINE.com, 3/7).
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