Pressure is on for Los Angeles 2028

Published on June 21st, 2022

When the Summer Olympics come to the USA, Los Angeles 2028 chief executive Kathy Carter has noted the competition will be delivered “on time and on budget“. Stressing the Games will leave a lasting legacy on the host city, Carter says the cost will be about $6.9 billion.

With $546 million spent on the Los Angeles 1984 Games, which had a surplus of $232.5 million in pure profit left over, the 2028 guestimate far exceeds the inflation rate. And now with the final tally in for Tokyo 2020, the pressure will be rising for Carter to deliver.

The final price tag for last year’s COVID-delayed Tokyo Olympics was put at $13 billion (1.4 trillion Japanese yen), which is twice what was forecast in 2013 when Tokyo was awarded the Games.

Accurately tracking Olympic costs — who pays, who benefits, and what are and are not Games’ expenses — is an ever-moving maze. The one-year delay added to the difficulty, as did recent fluctuations in the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the Japanese yen.

Victor Matheson and fellow American Robert Baade researched Olympic costs and benefits in a study called “Going for Gold: The Economics of the Olympics.” They wrote that “the overwhelming conclusion is that in most cases the Olympics are a money-losing proposition for host cities; they result in positive net benefits only under very specific and unusual circumstances.”

Tokyo will be remembered as the first Games that were postponed for a year, and then held mostly without fans in a so-called bubble. The most important legacy is surely the $1.4 billion National Stadium designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. Though it’s a new venue, it blends seamlessly into its central location.

“The goal should be that the costs of hosting are matched by benefits that are shared in a way to include ordinary citizens who fund the event through their tax dollars,” Matheson and Baade wrote. “In the current arrangement, it is often far easier for the athletes to achieve gold than it is for the hosts.”

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