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Olympics: As Games suitors dwindle, sport still good business, says LA


By Steve Keating

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - While another reduced bid process was completed on Monday with Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo winning the 2026 Winter Olympics, the Los Angeles Sport Council (LASC) released a report that said sport, including the Games, is good business.

Milan-Cortina d'Ampezzo beat out Stockholm-Are for the 2026 hosting rights, after four other bids — Switzerland’s Sion, Japan’s Sapporo, Austria’s Graz and Canada's Calgary in Canada — dropped out with concerns over the size and cost of the event.

While more and more cities see the Olympics as a money pit, bullish Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said at the LA Sports Summit he expects the 2028 Summer Games to produce a $1 billion surplus.

The 'City of Angels' is not solely focused on the Olympics, however. It is aggressively pursuing other major events to cash in on decades of investment in facilities.

Los Angeles already has an impressive schedule in coming years, hosting the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in 2020, the 2022 NFL Super Bowl, the 2023 college football championship and a number of games during the 2026 soccer World Cup.

An economic impact analysis commissioned by the LASC found the sports industry generated $6.3 billion in the greater Los Angeles region last year, including $327 million in taxes for state and local governments while supporting nearly 40,000 jobs.

"The popularity of sport in LA has allowed us for the last 100 years to build the venues we need to put on Olympic Games and other sports," Bill Allen, CEO of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation told Reuters. "We are just getting started in LA.

"Everything is fair game, if you have a sporting event somewhere in the world and you are trying to find an international home for it, LA is ready for you."

Sustainability is now seen as a cornerstone of any Olympic bid.

Hosting the Summer Games for a third time in 2028, Los Angeles organizers boast they could hold them next year with most of the venues already built.

Talk of white elephants and cost over-runs dominate every Olympic cycle but the LASC believes it has developed a hosting prototype that changes the discussion.

"I would not be surprised if we are the case study more and more cities and countries follow moving forward because it has been so successful," David Siegel, president and CEO of the LA Sports Council and Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games, told Reuters.

"Quite frankly you need to have a plan for sustainability and be able to execute it to get any of these events.

"I think what we are doing is only going to amplify that idea."

(Editing by Ian Ransom)

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