LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles has reached an agreement with International Olympic leaders that will open the way for the city to host the 2028 Summer Games, while ceding the 2024 Games to rival Paris, officials announced Monday.
The deal would make LA a three-time Olympic city, after hosting the 1932 and 1984 Games.
With the agreement, the city is taking “a major step toward bringing the Games back to our city for the first time in a generation,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement.
He called it a “historic day for Los Angeles, for the United States” and the Olympic movement.
The agreement follows a vote earlier this month by the International Olympic Committee to seek an unusual deal to award the 2024 and 2028 Games simultaneously. Paris is the only city left to host the 2024 Games.
The Los Angeles City Council and U.S. Olympic Committee board of directors will consider the agreement in August. If approved, the IOC, LA and Paris could enter a three-part agreement, clearing the way for the IOC to award the 2024 Games to Paris, and the 2028 Games to LA. The IOC vote is scheduled for September, in Lima.
In a statement, the Paris bid committee welcomed the announcement in Los Angeles but stopped short of confirming the obvious, that Paris is in line for the 2024 Games.
“Paris 2024 is proud to be working together with the IOC and our friends in Los Angeles to reach a positive solution for both cities, the Games and the whole Olympic Movement for 2024 and 2028,” committee co-chair Tony Estanguet said.
In embracing what amounted to the second-place prize and an 11-year wait, LA will receive a financial sweetener.
Under the terms of the deal, the IOC will advance funds to the Los Angeles organizing committee to recognize the extended planning period and to increase youth sports programs leading up to the games. The IOC contribution could exceed $2 billion, according to LA officials. That figure takes into account the estimated value of existing sponsor agreements that would be renewed, as well as potential new marketing deals.
The delay to 2028 opens a host of questions for Los Angeles, which is looking at the prospect of retooling its multibillion-dollar plans for more than a decade into the future. It would face challenges from maintaining public interest to recasting deals for stadiums, arenas and housing that have been in the works for months and even years.
Speaking with reporters at a soccer stadium in Carson, just outside LA, Garcetti said the 2028 proposal was the better of the two, promising to bring hundreds of millions of dollars in additional benefits.
The deal “was too good to pass up,” the mayor said.
He also suggested the IOC would easily ratify the 2024-2028 deal in September.
LA and Paris were the last two bids remaining after a tumultuous process that exposed the unwillingness of cities to bear the financial burden of hosting an event that has become synonymous with cost overruns.
LA was not even the first American entrant in the contest. Boston withdrew two years ago as public support for its bid collapsed over concerns about use of taxpayer cash. The U.S. bid switched from the east to the West Coast as LA entered the race.
But the same apprehensions that spooked politicians and the local population in Boston soon became evident in Europe where three cities pulled out.
Uncomfortably for IOC president Thomas Bach, whose much-vaunted Agenda 2020 reforms were designed to make hosting more streamlined, the first withdrawal came from his homeland of Germany.
The lack of political unity for a bid in Hamburg was mirrored in Rome and Budapest as support for bids waned.