With the Olympic flame now extinguished in Rio de Janeiro, the competition to host the 2024 Games is heating up.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was in Rio trying to convince Olympic officials his city should play host eight years from now. It’s been 20 years since the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta. Since then, Chicago and New York have tried unsuccessfully to land the Olympics, points out CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy.
“I think a lot of people are asking, ‘Who would ever want to bid for the Games these days?’” Garcetti said. “We know we could do a Games that would be profitable, just like they were in 1984 when we helped save the Olympic movement.”
Los Angeles was the only city that wanted the games in 1984, and it made money.
L.A. predicts its 2024 Games would cost about $6 billion and generate a $161
million surplus from TV rights, sponsorships and ticket sales.
The L.A. Coliseum would be updated and a temporary swimming venue would be built, but nearly every other Olympic venue already exists. The planned $2.6 billion state-of-the-art Los Angeles Rams football stadium would become a centerpiece of the Games.
L.A. has also dramatically expanded its public transportation.
“We won’t build things for the
Olympics and hope they benefit the people of L.A. We are building things for the
people of L.A. already and we hope that they will benefit the Olympics in turn,” Garcetti said.
But the competition is stiff. Los Angeles is up against Paris, Rome and Budapest. Paris is a favorite, as 2024 would be 100 years since it last hosted the Games.
“The entire Olympic ideal is to have bigger, higher, faster, stronger profits,” Professor Christopher Gaffney said.
Gaffney has studied the impact of the Olympics on host cities. He said most Games make millions for the International Olympic Committee but leave their hosts billions in debt with empty and rotting Olympic venues. He said he doesn’t buy the mayor’s claim that the Olympics would be profitable for Los Angeles.
“I don’t buy any of it. It’s just marketing,” Gaffney said.
“So you don’t actually think Americans should want to see the Olympics back on American soil?” Tracy asked.
“No, absolutely not,” Gaffney said. “The Olympic model is dead!”
In the past decade, the Olympics have cost an average of $8.9 billion, with an average cost overrun of 156 percent.
But the L.A. mayor says bringing the Games back to the heart of Hollywood would not only be a win for his city, but the entire country.
“This is a movement that needs America, but I think America needs the Olympics, too,” Garcetti said.
If L.A. were to get the Games, it would become only the second city in history to host them three times. London has now done that.
We won’t know for another year who will host the 2024 Games. The IOC will make the big announcement in Lima, Peru next September.