Attention California taxpayers from Blythe to Chico, the California State Senate is debating whether or not to establish an Olympics Games Trust Fund which would set aside a quarter of a billion dollars in public money to pay whatever costs overruns there are at the 2024 Los Angeles Summer Olympics if LA gets the event. Two hundred and fifty million dollars is the price that California elected officials think might be needed to help Los Angeles win the contest to host the Games in the race with Paris, Rome and Budapest.
The International Olympic Committee, which is based in Switzerland, does not want to be left holding the bag because organizers of any Olympics miscalculated the real cost of hosting the IOC’s two work sports spectacular and makes host cities and countries bidding for the Games sign an agreement that makes the cities and countries, not the IOC, responsible for Olympics debt. In January, the city of Los Angeles signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Los Angeles 2024, which is a major requirement in the bidding selection, that put the public on the hook for cost overruns. The only reason that Los Angeles got the United States Olympic Committee’s go ahead to bid for the Games was Boston’s reluctance to sign that Memorandum of Understanding. There were also other things in the host city IOC deal including closing down roads during the Olympics and covering city owned billboards selling products for the duration of the Olympics and Paralympics which deprives the host city of municipal revenue. All of these demands did not sit well with Boston residents and the city of Boston pulled the financial aid plug on the bid. Los Angeles officials claim that the city will make money on the Olympics which every host city wrongly claims. Cities globally are dropping out of Olympics biding but there always are a few that think they can make money on the Olympics.
Republished with permission Evan Weiner for Politics of Sports Business.