50% Chance L.A. will Represent U.S. 2024 Olympic Bid

AP photo
AP photo
Los Angeles, CA

According to Vegas and online odds-makers, Los Angeles is heavily favored to be selected by the U.S. Olympic Organizing Committee to represent the U.S. bid for the for the 2024 Summer Olympics. The bottom line is that L.A. has the facilities, Hollywood, and weather that make for the secret sauce of profitability for international events.

The United States should be in line to get the Olympic Summer Games in 2024 or 2028. The last U.S. Games in L.A. in 1984 and Atlanta in 1996 were both considered excellent venues and terrific financially.

Bovada online casino gamblers are actively betting on who will win the right to represent the U.S. for the international bid. Los Angeles leads with a 50% chance, Boston at 33% chance, San Francisco at 25% chance, and Washington DC at 12.5%.

But the real driver for the Olympics will be who can host the Games and avoid bankrupting their nation. There is great gnashing of teeth right now regarding Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as the host for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Committed to building the $25 billion of new facilities, everything is over-budget, and Brazil almost defaulted on this summer’s World Cup Soccer Tournament.

Despite the glamour and inspiration of the Olympic Games, most cities have lost huge amounts of money. The most recent disaster was Athens’ extremely artistic 2004 Summer Olympic Games that cost Greek taxpayers $9 billion. But the horrendous expense was before another $10 billion to build a new airport and metro system. Ever since the Games, Greece has been on the verge of bankruptcy.

Olympic financial troubles date back to 1977,, when the Olympic Movement was near collapse. Two consecutive Olympic Games had ended in turmoil. In 1972, the world watched in horror as Palestinian terrorists broke into the Olympic Village; two Israeli team members were initially murdered and then another 9 hostages were killed in a rescue attempt at the Munich airport.

Four years later, 22 African nations boycotted the Summer Olympic Game,s and the host city Montreal incurred a stunning $1.5 billion loss that would take the medium size city two decades to recover from.

The situation was so grim that only Teheran, Iran and Los Angeles, Ca. made bids to the International Olympic Committee to host the 1984 Games. While evaluating the two bidders, Tehran dropped out and L.A. was awarded the Summer Games by default.

Unique to every past Olympics, the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee and the United States Olympic Committee assumed the entire financial risk and created the first privately-organized and privately-financed Olympic Games.

Despite the Soviet Union and 16 other countries boycotting of the Games, a record 140 nations competed in a record 221 events in Los Angeles, up from 88 countries and 203 events in Montreal. Huge crowds thrilled at the TV-perfect talents of gymnast Mary Lou Retton, decathlete Daley Thompson, marathoner Joan Benoit, and sprinter Carl Lewis.

The so-called “no-frills Games” were directed by LAOOC President Peter Ueberroth. He turned down building new venues and relied on existing facilities. Ueberroth strangled spending costs and brokered record television and corporate sponsorship deals.

The result was a financial bonanza that netted a $232.5 million surplus. About $140 million of the surplus went to the U.S. Organizing Committee to finance future training programs for every Olympic sport.

The remaining 40% of the surplus has been used for three decades to support youth sports in Southern California through the private, non-profit LA84 Foundation. Since its formation in 1985, the Foundation has spent more than $164 million in grants, scholarships, and programming throughout Southern California.

Los Angeles has the ability to again turnkey the Summer Games for a big profit. That looks overwhelmingly attractive compared to a probable deficit if the Games are hosted by Boston, San Francisco, or Washington, D.C.

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