IOC Awards '24, '28 Games; L.A. And Paris Promise Cooperation
The IOC today unanimously awarded L.A. the ’28 Games, a $5.3B project that marks the culmination of a decade-long effort to return the event to American soil. As expected, there was no opposition from members to the back-room deal hatched earlier this year to give Paris the ’24 Games simultaneously. “For me this is truly a day of real emotion,” L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “What does history feel like? It feels like this. For me, it’s not just the happiness of the win but the joy of beginning.” Garcetti’s comments came after signing the host city contract, obligating the city of L.A. to financially guarantee any cost overruns and guaranteeing IOC funding for the event.
L.A. and Paris squabbled at times during the campaign, but with the order now settled, they have promised to share ideas and plan to improve the athletes’ and fans’ experience. They also have promised to communicate about changes to the sport program, which host cities are now able to propose under new IOC rules. “One thing we did not expect was that even this victory would be shared with our friends from Los Angeles,” said Paris bid co-Chair Tony Estanguet. “All together, we will share the unique power of Olympism, city to city, flame to flame, all together. With your help we will start a new journey of trust, optimism and shared success.”
With the combo deal, the IOC now can sell certainty over the Games location to sponsors and broadcasters. It also sidesteps at least one competitive vote at a time when a scandal over possible vote-buying in Rio and Tokyo is emerging. “It is hard to imagine something better,” IOC President Thomas Bach said.
At one point, the IOC’s traditional skepticism about U.S. Games emerged briefly. The only question of the day’s proceeding, from Tunku Imran of Malaysia, was whether the U.S. government had guaranteed special athlete and coach visas for the ’28 Games. The White House has given those assurances, IOC Evaluation Commission Chair Patrick Baumann said. Both bids presented for roughly 25 minutes. The men on the L.A. team wore Nikes with their business suits to highlight their “California cool,” though a plan to also go without neckties was scuttled at the last moment by Garcetti, who decided that would be a step too much.
The IOC said it still has some questions about the USOC-LA ’28 contract that dictates how the bodies will jointly sell and manage U.S. commercial rights to the Olympic brand in the ’20s. The USOC and L.A. have agreed on a joint marketing term from ’21-28, in which the usual rights to Team USA and the ’28 Games would be packaged together. The IOC has not fully signed off on the details of the joint venture, Baumann said. He added, “The IOC has no major concerns with the longer duration of the marketing period, or the proposed revenue split. But a number of matters require further clarification, prior to final approval by the IOC.”
They have all agreed that the joint marketing period will last from ’21-28, including the ’22, ’24, ’26 Games as well as LA ’28.