LA Gets Olympics … But is That Good News?

LA gets Olympics

In the contests for the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games, Los Angeles really wanted to get at least one win. And they did, though they will have to wait a bit longer to celebrate. LA will host the 2028 Games.

City Council President Herb Wesson exulted at the news, “Hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games for the first time in 44 years is a golden opportunity for LA. In 1932 and 1984, the Olympic Games helped to transform our city for the better — not just through bricks and mortar, but through new opportunities for our communities to watch, play, and benefit from sport… Over the next 11 years and beyond, we want to bring those benefits to young people across this city on an unprecedented scale.”

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach called LA an “excellent” candidate to host a Games. “The IOC welcomes this decision … we are pleased to release the Host City contract 2028 in a transparent and timely manner.”

This decision means the next three Olympiads will be in Tokyo, Paris, and LA, respectively. While no one is saying, one of the key reasons this deal went through is the promise of financial backing from the State of California if there happen to be any cost overruns. The city hopes to turn a profit on the games, planning to invest any earned money into area youth sports programs.

Expense has become a key concern in the modern era. Several cities including Boston and Budapest dropped out of contention for the 2024 Games after cost estimates proved more than they were willing to bear. LA has an advantage in this regard because it already has most of the facilities necessary to host the event.

But there are still many doubters. Recent Olympic Games have proved to be massive cash sinks for host cities. There have been embarrassing stories, infrastructure chaos and all manner of far-flung financial benefit estimates, few of which proved true.

Then there were the embarrassing TV ratings for the most recent Olympics. The relative lack of live events, mixed up broadcast schedules and internet spoilers meant much of the drama was leached from the Games. And the Games seemed to captivate fewer people than they have in the past.

LA now has 11 years to figure out how to make it all work. To bring back that Olympic Magic that glued people to their screens and made heroes out of the incredibly dedicated and talented athletes that compete in the Games. It should be time enough … but some still wonder if it will be.

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