It is becoming increasingly clear that hosting an Olympic Games tends to precede financial ruin. Rio de Janeiro just got finished hosting the Summer Games and the city is more or less out of money. Would-be host cities of the 2022 Winter Games scrambled to take their names out of the running and Boston very loudly dropped out of the running for the 2024 Summer Games, but at least a one city is still doing all it can to host an Olympics.
Los Angeles is one of three cities left in the running to host the 2024 Games along with Paris and Budapest, and the city’s government and the U.S. Olympic Committee are going all in on beating out their competitors. They’ve emerged as the unofficial front runner, and it’s not surprising given how aggressive they’ve been.
Last week, the city announced that they’d received $1.6 billion in federal funding to build a new subway line, which is a core part of their Olympic pitch. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti has been one of the most gung-ho supporters of the plan, and he got Donald Trump (who Garcetti is no fan of) to support the bid as well on a phone call in November. Entertainment mogul guy/L.A. 2024 chair Casey Wasserman went on the Bill Simmons Podcast all the way back in Oct. 2015 and waxed rhapsodic about the virtues of the plan, emphasizing how much sporting infrastructure L.A. already has in place.
The deciding vote won’t be until September, but that hasn’t stopped L.A. from showing off. The USOC recently agreed to host the 2017 Paracycling Track World Championships on extremely short notice, in an obvious attempt to buff their credibility as the sort of city who can easily accommodate large sporting events. The city of L.A. and the USOC also told the IOC that they wouldn’t settle for a 2028 consolation prize, which likely means that they are confident in their efforts to bring the Olympics back to California.
An independent report commissioned by L.A. 2024 showed that the Games would have a huge economic impact, but as the Los Angeles Times notes, those sorts of studies tend to predict rosy outcomes, while the record of host cities shows that that’s bullshit. Either way, it sure looks like L.A. is getting an Olympics. Whether they’ll be happy about that in seven years is another matter.