Landing the Olympics costs money – some $16 million so far, according to June tax filings from the LA 2024 exploratory committee, which oversaw the bid. But the committee managed to pay the tab without using taxpayer dollars, relying on 29 individuals and organizations who each donated at least $1 million to fund operations.
A who’s who of civic and business leaders chipped in, including David Geffen, Tony Pritzker, Haim Saban, Jeanie Buss and Tom Gores – each of whom contributed $1 million to the committee.
LA 2024 Chairman Casey Wasserman, chief executive of the eponymous Westwood sports and entertainment agency Wasserman, put in $3 million.
The International Olympic Committee’s vote last week confirmed speculation that Los Angeles is the likely destination for the 2028 Summer Games, with Paris in line to receive the 2024 bid.
The dual-track arrangement must still be ratified at a September confab in Lima, Peru.
The global consensus at this point is that Los Angeles will play host to athletes from around the world in 11 years barring any last-minute setbacks.
Businesses on the contributor list include the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Universal Studios, Banc of California, Westfield Property Management and City National Bank parent company RBC Capital Markets, which each put in
LA 2024 spokesman Jeff Millman said there was no expectation of remuneration or of sponsorship deals as a result of the donations, noting the existing committee does not control such arrangements.
“The L.A. bid committee has no business relationships,” Millman said.
The landscape of opportunities could change once the bid transforms into an organizing committee, which would likely have a say in sponsorship deals, various contracts and other business arrangements.
Millman said it was premature to comment on how that process would play out.
Some perspective on L.A.’s 1984 Olympic Games is available to the current committee thanks to Barry Sanders. The retired Latham & Watkins partner is a member of the current body, and served as outside legal counsel to the ’84 organizing committee.
Sanders said once the shift to organizing happens there should be extraordinary caution on any deals they make. He said the 1984 Olympic organizing committee was able to avoid spending public money and stay under budget because it pressed vendors and sponsors on every cent.
That could be more difficult to do a second time around, however.
“Because we have the example of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, which had a budget surplus, the organizing committee has to be very careful to not be taken advantage of by contractors,” he said. “They won’t be as likely to believe there isn’t more money, even if that’s the case.”
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