Here Q&A from the Chairman of LA>24 SBD Global Olympic Series: Los Angeles Pitch Focuses On Olympics 'Experience,' 'Low Risk'
By HJ Mai, Assistant Managing Editor
Published November 18, 2015
Font Size Resize SmallResize NormalResize Large | Print | Share |
Casey Wasserman, chairman of LA 2024, says Los Angeles is a "truly" Olympic City, having hosted the Summer Games twice in '32 and '84, and with 85% of venues already "in place or planned" it is ready to deliver "low-risk, sustainable" Games. Wasserman, chairman and CEO of Wasserman Media Group, answered a series of questions about the city's qualifications and chances of winning its bid to host the 2024 Games in the third of a five-part SBD Global series with bid city representatives. Budapest andHamburg kicked off the series on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. We will continue, in alphabetical order, with the rest of the bidders: Paris and Rome.Q: What do you think makes your city the best choice for the IOC?
Casey Wasserman: Los Angeles is truly an Olympic City. Olympism is in our DNA because every day Angelenos experience the positive legacies of the 1932 and 1984 Games. In L.A., the IOC has a Candidate City that has proven experience in hosting an impactful, sustainable Games; that lives and breathes sport, full of passionate sports fans; and has 85% of the world-class venues required for the Games already in place or planned. If we have the honor of hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games, these assets would allow LA 2024 to deliver low-risk, sustainable and spectacular Games that give athletes the best platform to achieve their dreams and inspire the world. Our Games Plan is completely aligned with L.A.’s long-term vision and the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020 to ensure it will deliver a lasting legacy for the city. But we are also committed to delivering a legacy which goes beyond our city and benefits the entire Olympic Movement. L.A. is a hub for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurism, and we will harness this pioneering spirit to deliver fresh thinking and new ideas, in line with the progressive ambitions of Olympic Agenda 2020. Our city of storytellers would be the perfect partners to reinvigorate the Olympic Movement’s connection to the young people of the world.
Q: Your bid and Paris are the early frontrunners, why do you think that is? And how can you stay ahead of the competition?
Wasserman: We are just honored to be among so many great candidates in the race for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. I wouldn’t say there are any frontrunners in this group; we are just focused on our own bid and developing the best possible offering for the Olympic Movement and the City of L.A. There is a long way to go and the hard work has begun. Over the next two years we will work closely with the IOC to learn from their expertise and ensure that we maximize the huge potential of our city. We strongly believe that L.A. is ideally positioned to help the IOC deliver a reimagined Olympic Games in line with Olympic Agenda 2020.
Casey Wasserman Q: How important were Thomas Bach’s “Agenda 2020” reforms in your decision to bid for the Olympics?
Wasserman: Los Angeles and the United States have consistently shown our commitment to the Olympic Movement. Under IOC President Thomas Bach’s visionary leadership we are seeing a new, revitalized Olympic Movement emerge, making us even more convinced that L.A. could be the perfect partner to the IOC at this moment. The Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms have allowed for greater flexibility and put an emphasis on making sure the Olympic Games fits within the long-term vision of the city to optimize its legacy. With 85% of the world-class venues in our Games Plan already built or planned as permanent facilities, we are ideally positioned to deliver a sustainable Olympic Games.
Q: Cost overruns have been a big issue with recent and future Olympics, i.e. Sochi and Tokyo. What measures would you put in place to control spending?
Wasserman: LA 2024 is committed to hosting a profitable and fiscally responsible Games. With the 1932 and 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games both producing surpluses, we have proven that we are ready for that responsibility. The LA 2024 budget is prudent, realistic and designed to protect taxpayers. Even with our $400 million contingency, $150 million insurance premium, and conservative revenue estimates, our budget still produces a projected surplus of more than $160 million.
Q: What are the biggest issues facing your bid?
Wasserman: All cities bidding to host the Olympic Games will face challenges but we are working closely with the IOC to learn from past experiences and deliver a plan which keeps these challenges to a minimum. Issues for previous hosts of Olympic Games have often been related to the construction of venues and Games-time infrastructure but we have designed a Games Plan that takes advantage of the existing infrastructure we already have built or planned in the city.
Q: How would you classify your chances in the race for the 2024 Olympics?
Wasserman: The 2020 Olympic race is very competitive and ultimately it is up to the IOC members to decide which city would host the best Games. But we are confident that if we can effectively communicate the assets of our bid to the IOC membership, they will see that L.A. is ideally positioned to deliver a new watershed moment for the Olympic Movement.