Organizers for the LA 2024 bid to host the Olympic Games on Friday released a $5.3 billion budget, one that offers the Olympics at a cost far lower than many recent Games.
LA 2024 officials called the budget conservative but realistic, saying they plan to avoid the high spending of other games because of how little needs to be built.
Los Angeles will build no new permanent venues under its plan. The bid committee says while the Games would benefit in billions of infrastructure improvements already planned by the city, no new construction is needed for it to host the Games.
“The easiest way to express our budgetary objective to both the city of Los Angeles and the IOC is two words — no surprises,” said Casey Wasserman, chairman of LA 2024. “In other words, if Los Angeles is chosen to host the 2024 Games, the (International Olympic Committee) does not have to worry about changing or evolving budgets, shifting competition venues or uncertainty concerning the delivery of the Games.
“Our Games plan offers stability and minimal risk to the IOC and the Olympic movement,” he said. “That’s what we mean by a new Games for a new era, and this is a plan which finally reflects the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020 philosophy — credibility, sustainability and partnership.”
Los Angeles is competing with Paris and Budapest, Hungary, to host the Games. The IOC plans to select a host city on Sept. 17, 2017, in Lima.
The IOC has found itself at a crossroads with the soaring costs of hosting the Games. Estimates for the recently completed Rio Olympics suggest it cost around $12 billion, while the 2012 Olympics in London cost approximately $15 billion.
IOC officials are currently working with the Tokyo organizing committee to get the cost of the 2020 Olympics below $20 billion.
The IOC passed Agenda 2020, seeking to reduce the cost of bidding and hosting the Games while making them more sustainable. Since replacing Boston as the U.S. Olympic Committee’s choice in September 2015, LA 2024 has pitched that vision by saying it represents a new games for a new era.
“We’ve created the best possible plan for the Olympic movement and for the LA community, and the budget reflects that plan,” said Gene Sykes, CEO of LA 2024. The result is an LA 2024 Games concept that is a prudent and responsible use of our city’s existing resources and one that offers stability and minimizes risk to the IOC and the Olympic movement.”
The budget’s biggest expense is venue infrastructure with more than $1.9 billion allocated for construction of temporary venues or fitting overlays in existing venues to get them to meet Olympic specifications.
Unlike past bids — which typically include separate budgets for construction and operation of the Games — LA 2024 put forward one budget because of the lack of construction needed to host the event.
Los Angeles has already approved more than $200 billion in transportation and infrastructure improvements.
The LA 2024 budget includes a $491 million contingency plan. Not included is the cost of security, which Wasserman said the bid expects will be picked up by the federal government.
The accounting firm KPMG is reviewing the budget and is expected to release its findings to the LA city council later Friday.