If you think Los Angeles is only going to spend public money on sports events like the Olympics think again. Los Angeles, which is not a rich city, as Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades and Malibu are separate municipalities, could be on the hook for as much as $250 million for cost overruns should Los Angeles win the bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics.
But that’s not all the sports spending that is on the list. Los Angeles is getting a Major League Soccer expansion franchise and the owners of the club are building a new stadium for the team and other events allegedly with ownership backed funding. However, the owners need money for a sports museum and retail space and don’t necessarily want to put up their own money. They would take a loan for $22.5 million if need be. So City Councilman Curren Price came up with a solution. Why not use federal money from Housing and Urban Department that would normally be earmarked for low income housing and lend it to the owners and call it economic development funding. Price’s colleagues on the council think that’s a good idea, why not. Building a sports facility in South Los Angeles would bring developers into a part of town that needs a lift.
Until you realize that the soccer stadium is replacing the Los Angeles Sports Arena which opened on July 4, 1959 and will be adjacent to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Whatever is built might compete with LA Live which is not very far away. Politicians peddle the sports as an economic generator policy which has proven to be an urban policy failure. The NBA LA Clippers ownership could be looking for a new arena very soon which means Councilman Price and his colleagues could be opening the vault to help build a home for Steve Ballmer and the Clippers very shortly. Municipal sports funding never ends.
By Evan Weiner for The Politics of Sports Business.
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.