Casey Wasserman

Casey Wasserman Photo by Thomas Wasper

CASEY WASSERMAN is a throwback to old-style philanthropists even as he focuses intensely on the future.

His eponymous sports agency counts NBA stars Klay Thompson, Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis as clients, along with NFL quarterback Andrew Luck and soccer star Didier Drogba, among others.

Wasserman – the agency – also represents stars in up-and-coming sports such as snowboarding and skateboarding.

Yet Wasserman – the man – has used connections and his time to advance the cause of Los Angeles landing the 2028 Summer Olympics, the city’s third go as host of the quadrennial gathering.

He has served as Los Angeles 2028 chairman – an unpaid volunteer position – at the request of Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Both men count the 1984 Summer Olympics as a formative experience, and Wasserman said he sees his work on the 2028 games as a way of giving back to his home city.

His maternal grandfather, legendary Hollywood executive Lew Wasserman, took him to the 1984 Olympics (The city first hosted the Olympics in 1932.)

34 years later there is a sense of history – of bowing to the past, but not being bound by it – that helps drive the sports entrepreneur.

Today’s sports team owner has a lot more to think about than box scores and bottom lines, said Wasserman, who knows a thing or two about the trials and tribulations that can go with a franchise. He owned the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League until the franchise folded in 2009.

The landscape world has changed dramatically since then, with franchise values soaring for major leagues, and sports such as soccer, esports and mixed martial arts growing substantial fan bases.

“What all these owners have realized is that sports is a big business, and those businesses compete with all sorts of businesses that aren’t sports related, and [they] require capital expenditures and support that make those best-in-class opportunities,” Wasserman said.

There is no shortage of sporting arenas and stadiums sprinkled around Los Angeles County. They’re often cited as a major advantage for Los Angeles in terms of wooing the International Olympic Committee.

Yet such boosterish arguments ignore significant flaws, he noted.

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum has the distinction of having hosted two Olympics, two Super Bowls and one World Series. It also has the distinction of being a very old building that lacks toilets inside its 93,000-seat stadium.

Dodger Stadium is a gem nestled in Chavez Ravine – and it’s where Wasserman personally witnessed Kirk Gibson’s famous walk-off home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. But it’s also the third-oldest stadium in Major League Baseball, behind Boston’s Fenway Park and Chicago’s Wrigley Field, each of which was built more than a century ago.

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