The Los Angeles City Council appears poised to approve the city's bid to host its third Olympic Games. An approval a motion currently before the council would let the U.S. Olympic Committee designate L.A. as its preferred site for the 2024 games. The proposal would also give the City Council added oversight over what would be spent on an L.A. games.
The Los Angeles 2024 Exploratory Committee — also known as LA24 — last week published its "bid book" detailing how it expected the 2024 games to cost $4.5 billion and produce $150 million in profits.
City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana late Thursday issued a report warning the council about the many unknown expenses that could be heaped on the city if Olympic spending by the organizing committee runs over budget, or if the games don't break even. The International Olympic Committee requires host cities to take financial responsibility for the games.
Council President Herb Wesson responded to the city administrator's cautions by adding language proposed by the City Attorney's Office that would give the City Council veto power over any deals with the U.S. or International Olympic Committee.
The language calls on the Council to enter into an agreement with LA24 that would more clearly describe the city's role in bidding for the game and describe how the city might be reimbursed for costs. The CAO would also hire independent financial and other analysts to keep close watch over the bid process and costs.
The City Council reviewed the proposal, but delayed a vote until Tuesday.
Wesson says a council vote for the plan would let L.A. go forward as the U.S. choice to host the Olympics, but does not commit the city to any specific spending or financial guarantees.
He said the vote and likely subsequent nomination of L.A. as the United States' host city candidate is "the announcement of an engagement, but it's not the marriage."
And, like the runup to any modern marriage, that engagement period could be costly. The two-year campaign to bring the 2024 Olympics to L.A. could cost $65 million. Wesson says local organizing committee LA24 already has private commitments for nearly half of that.