L.A., Paris Begin Long Wait To Host Olympics After IOC Makes Things Official
The IOC’s official announcement yesterday that the Games will return to Paris in '24 and L.A. in '28 is a "triumph for two iconic cities with deep Olympic histories and unique and innovative views on how to reinvent the Games and reconnect them with a younger audience," according to a front-page piece by Scott Reid of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER. The unanimous vote at the IOC meeting in Lima, Peru, caps L.A.'s "unlikely four-year pursuit of the Games and marks an embattled IOC’s acknowledgement that it must make dramatic change in order to survive." At least six of the last 10 Olympic host cities have "finished in the red, their combined deficits" totaling more than $18B. Additionally, eight cities have "withdrawn bids for the last two available Olympic Games." The emergence of "fiscally stable and innovative bids" in L.A. and Paris provide the IOC with "more than a decade of stability and the opportunity to regroup with the first joint award since 1921." L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said, "The ‘24 and ‘28 decision should put aside any concerns about the IOC’s willingness not only to recognize change, but to embrace it" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 9/14). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Matthew Futterman noted by securing Paris and L.A., IOC President Thomas Bach has "bought the IOC time to create a new system for awarding the event that will avoid the embarrassment of having so many cities abandon their efforts and leaving the IOC with few choices for host sites." The IOC will have to "address the situation sooner rather than later." A host city for the '26 Games "must be chosen" by the end of '19. Innsbruck, Austria, would "like to be the host city but a referendum later this year could upset those plans, and enthusiasm elsewhere has been tepid." Salt Lake City and Denver both have been rumored to be interested in hosting those Games (WSJ.com, 9/13).
NO DRAMA NEEDED: The AP's Eddie Pells noted there was none of the "dramatic flair that has accompanied" past votes. There were "no secret ballots and no dramatic reveals to close out the voting." Bach "simply asked for a show of hands from the audience, and when dozens shot up from the audience, and nobody raised their hand when he asked for objections, this was deemed a unanimous decision." A ceremony that has "long sparked parties in the plazas of winning cities -- and crying in those of the losers -- produced more muted, but still visible, shows of emotion." Paris '24 co-Chair Tony Estanguent "choked up during the presentation before the vote" (AP, 9/13). 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 (Ben Fischer, Staff Writer).
BEST SITUATION POSSIBLE: By going with the combo vote deal, the IOC 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,” Bach said. 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. A source said the USOC has agreed to accept a set sum from the joint venture rather than a percentage of total sales (Fischer).
THE WAITING IS THE HARDEST PART: ESPN.com's Wayne Drehs noted the Paris and L.A. committees will "start the multiyear march toward delivering on the lofty promises their leaders have made." It is "far less about pleasing the IOC as it is upholding the assurances made to the residents of their cities, countries and people around the world." But "delivering on all those promises is a task easier said than done." Now it is "up to Paris and L.A. to prove they can work together to create a new Games for a new Olympic era." Paris and L.A. are the "first cities to go through an entire bid cycle under the IOC's Agenda 2020, a plan designed to increase sustainability and feasibility for bid cities." At least 95% of their venues are "already built or will be temporary structures during the Games." The challenge will "come in the things bid leaders can't control" (ESPN.com, 9/13). In L.A., David Wharton in a front-page piece notes the local bid group has "vowed to control costs by using existing venues" and the Rams/Chargers stadium in Inglewood. All expenses are expected to be covered "through revenues from broadcast rights, sponsorships, ticket sales and other sources." But critics have "noted that previous hosts ... had promised to balance their budgets only to come away with large deficits" (L.A. TIMES, 9/14). The O.C. REGISTER's Reid notes there "still remain more challenges and questions ahead," including the fact that L.A. will be the "first city to host the Olympics more than a decade after having been awarded them." Those 11 years give the city an "additional four-year cushion to avoid the construction completion issues that have plagued several recent Games." But the extended period "creates additional uncertainty" surrounding the L.A. Games, four more years to be "impacted by environmental, economic and security issues." There is also "uncertainty surrounding the budget for the Games, which isn’t expected to be completed for months" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 9/14).
READY WITH THE LAUGHS: ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel addressed the vote at the beginning of his show last night, saying, “Welcome to Los Angeles, California, which as of today is the official home of the Summer Olympics in 2028. ... President Kid Rock himself will be here for the Opening Ceremony." Kimmel: "The U.S. delegation originally wanted to have the Olympics in Boston, and that seemed to be the plan until they realized they had very little local support. People in Boston didn't want them. But here they did a poll and they found that 83% of L.A. residents approve of hosting the Olympics. Although it's important to keep in mind 83% of L.A. residents also approve of gluten-free pizza, so we really can't be trusted. Get ready, in just 11 short years we can look forward to seeing the greatest athletes in the world stuck next to us on the 405” (“Jimmy Kimmel Live,” ABC, 9/13).