Olympics would boost LA economy by $11.2b: Study

Report will be included in American city's bid book to be presented to International Olympic Committee

05:34 January 10, 2017
Los Angeles Olympics

Los Angeles: The group bidding to bring the 2024 Olympics to Los Angeles issued a study report on Monday saying the event could boost local economic output by up to $11.2 billion (Dh41.1 billion).

The study was conducted by the University of California at Riverside in conjunction with an economic research firm, and is to be included in their bid book submission to the International Olympic Committee in February.

The optimistic economic prediction comes after the bid committee in December released a proposed budget for the Games that was balanced, with projected costs and revenue coming to $5.3 billion.

That plan revised an initial budget which projected a $161 million surplus.

“In 1984, Los Angeles showed the world that a responsibly managed Olympic Games could add billions of dollars to the local economy and bring progress that could be felt for decades to come - and we’re ready to do that again in 2024,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garceti said at a press conference to release the report.

“This report shows that L.A. is an ideal, low-risk host for the 2024 Games, and that we have the right plan in place to make sure that a winning bid brings a lasting Olympic legacy back to our city,” he added.

The study notes that plans to use existing facilities brings the cost of the Games down.

It projects the Games could produce up to $18.3 billion in gross economic output for the United States as a whole, create more than 74,308 new full-time jobs and $167 million in additional tax revenue for California.

“There is little doubt that hosting the Olympics is an enormous boost for a local economy - both in the short term as driven by activity surrounding the events themselves, and in the long term given how these events raise the global profile of the region,” said Christopher Thornberg, founding partner of Beacon Economics and director of the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development.

“The worry is always that these benefits come at too high a cost. But because Los Angeles already has many of the assets needed for a successful Olympic experience, the upside is far greater than it would be for many other cities who would be hosting for the first time.”

Cost concerns have become a perennial problem for the Games. Budget rows have dogged Tokyo’s preparations for the 2020 Olympics, with some suggesting the final bill could hit a staggering $30 billion - four times the initial estimate.

The total cost for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics went over budget, with a final price tag of around $12 billion.

Exciting upsides

Casey Wasserman, chairman of the private LA 2024 bid committee, said the Los Angeles bid addresses those concerns and reduces the risk of budget over-runs.

“LA 2024’s fiscally responsible approach has reduced risk for the city of Los Angeles and the IOC,” Wasserman said. “Now, in addition to reducing downside, we are able to quantify some really exciting upsides from LA 2024, with $11 billion in economic activity and a new Olympic job sector equivalent in size to LA’s arts and recreation industries combined.

“And that’s just short-term spending through 2024,” Wasserman said.

Los Angeles is competing with Paris and Budapest for the right to stage the 2024 Games. The IOC is due to choose the hosts at a meeting in Lima in September 2017.