IOC In Choosing Paris, L.A. Looks To Inject Stability, Youth Into Olympic Movement
The IOC, "desperate to reinvent the Olympic movement and re-connect it to a younger audience," has once again turned to L.A. to host the Olympics, as the city "does storytelling for a living," according to a front-page piece by Scott Reid of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER. The IOC in going with Paris for '24 and L.A. for '28 is "counting on two iconic global cities with rich Olympic histories to launch the Olympic movement into the 21st Century on a new trajectory after decades of corruption and doping scandals, financial crises and dwindling interest among both younger fans and major cities has diminished the Olympic brand." L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said his city has "always been a Games changer and will be again." The IOC also is "convinced that a diverse, re-energized" L.A. at the "intersection of entertainment and high-tech industries, and at the crossroads of Latin America and the Pacific Rim, can reinvent the Olympic movement." Garcetti: "We have put forward a model that will be good for the next 50 years for this movement." Garcetti and LA '28 Chair Casey Wasserman said that they have been "assured that the agreement will be unanimously ratified by the IOC on Sept. 13." If there were celebrations in L.A. and Paris, there also was "relief" at IOC HQ in Switzerland. IOC VP Richard Pound said the dual-award plan "buys us some time to take a longer term view of how we attract and encourage and deal with the candidate cities" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 8/1).
SETTING THE BAR: In L.A., David Wharton in a front-page piece notes the dual-award plan could also "set a precedent as the IOC made concessions to L.A. that involved sponsorship sales, the retention of any potential surplus and upfront funding for youth sports programs throughout the city." Initial reaction locally was "mixed." Some people "questioned whether Garcetti and local bid officials could have bargained for more, and whether the public should have been given a voice in the negotiations." The response was "more enthusiastic" from several City Council members and the White House. The chance of a surplus is "higher than usual because L.A. will not have to spend billions in construction costs by using existing venues" such as Staples Center, Pauley Pavilion and L.A. Memorial Coliseum. This dual-award plan "ends a tumultuous two years for the candidate cities and Olympic leaders." L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson said, "We will vet the proposal. We’ll scrub it, scrub it and re-scrub it." That process will "begin with an ad hoc committee meeting on Friday." Despite his promise of scrutiny, Wesson said that he "hopes to present a recommendation to the full council next week and win quick approval" (L.A. TIMES, 8/1).
A WIN IS A WIN: In N.Y., Nagourney & Longman note L.A. officials put a "positive spin on receiving the later Games, noting that the extra four years would allow for more expansion of the city’s subway system." The agreement is "not without risks" for L.A. The cost and logistical estimates that L.A. "prepared in making its bid for the Games -- and selling the idea to local officials and voters -- were based on the event taking place in seven years." As officials here began contemplating the probability that L.A. would get the Games in '28, they "expressed concern about the entailing uncertainties; costs are likely to be higher than they would be" in '24 (N.Y. TIMES, 8/1). USA TODAY's Josh Peter writes the LA '28 budget is "comparatively modest for modern Olympics." The bill for the '14 Sochi Games "reportedly" was $50B (USA TODAY, 8/1). In California, Jeff Miller writes the message of the day was the "promise that the flame won't come back to burn us all" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 8/1). FORBES' Patrick Rishe writes it is "not often we see multiple winners at a singular athletic competition." The IOC "wins" because Paris and L.A. can restore "some order, cache, and stability to a process that has been fraught with disorder, scandal, and instability over the last 20 years." A "major tip of the cap must go" to Garcetti and Wasserman. The L.A. bid committee "came off as gracious, informed, poised, and humble" (FORBES.com, 8/1). ESPN's Sarah Spain said it was good the Games are going to cities that could "possibly make money off of it instead of somewhere that will be forced into financial ruin as a result of it" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 7/31).
ROLE REVERSAL: ESPN.com's Wayne Drehs writes the "bigger story is a complete shift in the Olympic paradigm." For the first time in the modern era, the script "has been reversed." Rather than cities taking "desperate measures to win over IOC members for their votes, the money this time is flowing the other way." In return, the IOC expects L.A. to "save the future of the Olympic movement." Now it becomes L.A.'s job to "do the exact same thing it did" in '84 and "fix the broken Olympic model" (ESPN.com, 8/1). YAHOO SPORTS' Dan Wetzel wrote the IOC has "left a string of past host cities strewn around the globe dealing with decaying facilities and enormous debt." So now the "parade of the possible is small and the IOC knows it." For the IOC, it was a "unique, effective play," and it was "one born out of terror." By giving each a bid now, it "avoided the potential" for an embarrassment in the '28 bid process (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 7/31). NBC Sports Bay Area's Ray Ratto said the IOC "discovered that nobody wants the Olympics anymore." Ratto said the idea of the IOC "having to negotiate from a position of weakness with cities is a fascinating change" ("The Happy Hour," NBC Sports Bay Area, 7/31).
WORTH THE WAIT? In L.A., Bill Plaschke writes under the header, "It's A Strange Feeling Having To Wait 11 Years For The Prize." The announcement was "greeted with equal bits smiling and head scratching." It feels "way too early to even start talking about it." This wait is "almost unfathomable." By '28, the L.A. market will have "already hosted a Super Bowl in a stadium that has not yet been built, and possibly a World Cup even though it has not yet been awarded" (L.A. TIMES, 8/1). USA TODAY's Rachel Axon noted the USOC has been "trying to bring the Summer Games back" to the U.S. for more than a decade, with failed bids for '12 in N.Y. and '16 in Chicago. L.A. will "host the first Summer Olympics in the country" since Atlanta in '96 (USA TODAY, 8/1). THE RINGER's Rodger Sherman wrote L.A. is the "semi-loser here." It is "awkward to plan an event more than a decade in the future." There will be "three mayoral elections by the time the torch is lit." The Olympics will "probably not be good for L.A." But L.A. "is not Rio." Of all the cities in the world, L.A. is "among the cities least likely to be ruined by hosting the Olympics" (THERINGER.com, 7/31).
FRENCH CONNECTION: WOMEN'S WEAR DAILY's Mimosa Spencer notes Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo yesterday "reacted happily to news." Hidalgo tweeted, "Happy that my friend @MayorOfLA is making a new and important step towards an agreement that will lead to three winners: Paris, Los Angeles and the IOC. Discussions between our two cities and the IOC will continue throughout the month of August to reach a three-way agreement.” But Hidalgo "stopped short of claiming victory." The '24 Paris Games will "mark the centenary" of the last time the French capital hosted the Summer Olympics (WWD.com, 8/1).