SBD/July 17, 2017/Olympics

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  • Wasserman Says L.A. Has "Unique" Olympic Opportunity Due To Pre-Existing Venues

    LA 2024 Chair Casey Wasserman said the Games returning to L.A. will be unique because the city has to build "no permanent venues," allowing the Games to be operated "in a way that’s never been done before." Appearing on CNBC's "Power Lunch," Wasserman said, "We don’t have to build an Olympic village, we’re partners with Comcast as we don’t have to build a broadcast center because of what they’re doing on the lot at Universal, we have a media village at USC, and we have a sporting infrastructure (that is) second to none in the country. All those things together ... that is a pretty unique place to be which gives us the confidence that we can deliver this.” Asked if he felt the IOC was going to award the Games to larger cities going forward, Wasserman said, "The L.A. and Paris conversation is really about making the Olympics fit in with the long-term plan of a city, as opposed to having the city fit into the plan of the Olympics. I think what Paris and Los Angeles and Tokyo are going to allow, is the Olympics to go to cities all over the world going forward with this new paradigm of hosting based on Olympic Agenda 2020, and I think we are the ultimate proof of the Olympic Agenda in L.A.” Wasserman noted Venus Williams was in the Wimbledon women's finals on Saturday, and said, "Venus Williams is playing tennis because of the Olympics in 1984, because the legacy of ’84 invested in tennis in Compton and produced the Williams sisters. So that's the true legacy, the social legacy of an Olympics is amazing.”

    VALUE PLAYERS: Wasserman also discussed the future of streaming sports, saying the "value of sports is that you don't have to guess what people like, and the beauty of digital distribution is you don't have to guess where those people are." Those two things coming together are "going to create a lot of value." Wasserman: "What's consistent in all that is the value of live sports is unchanged. The commercial inventory in live sports, the value of live sports in reaching an audience and engaging an audience are truly unique. How that's distributed and how you find your audience is definitely going to change and involving Amazon is the first step.” Wasserman also said of the possibility of digital players like Apple, Amazon or Netflix negotiating events away from traditional networks, “You will absolutely see Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, the like biding on these rights, whether they get them or not. Certainly paying billions of dollars for content is a big paradigm shift for digital companies so we’ll see they’re ready to do that” (“Power Lunch,” CNBC, 7/14). 

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