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L.A. to Fight Olympic Ceremony Move to Inglewood

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Copyright 2016 Orange County Register
All Rights Reserved
Orange County Register (California)
Scott M. Reid, LOS ANGELES

Any plans by Los Angeles 2024 to shift the Olympics Opening or Closing ceremonies from the Coliseum to a new stadium in Inglewood would face intense scrutiny from the Los Angeles City Council, council members said Friday.

LA 2024 chief executive Gene Sykes would not directly answer questions about moving the ceremonies to the $2.8 billion Inglewood stadium being built by real estate developer and Rams owner Stan Kroenke on the former site of Hollywood Park.

While LA 2024 has listed the Coliseum - which hosted Olympics ceremonies for both the 1932 and 1984 Games - as the site for both 2024 ceremonies in public documents, there is a strong belief among key members of the International Olympic Committee and Olympic movement that bid committee officials are leaning toward the Inglewood option for the ceremonies.

LA 2024 Chairman Casey Wasserman and Inglewood Mayor James Butts also have said the Inglewood stadium would play a high-profile role in a Los Angeles Olympics, while declining to go into further detail.

A final venue plan will be part of LA 2024's Stage III submission to the International Olympic Committee in February. LA 2024 will formally announce its plans for the Inglewood site in the coming weeks.

"We haven't really done anything yet," Sykes said when asked by a reporter on Friday if LA 2024 planned to use Inglewood for either of the ceremonies. "We have to have the venue plan in place for the Stage III.

"At this point, all I'll tell you is Stage III is when we're going to have all the final details on what we're going to do with anything we haven't said publicly."

Asked if potential resistance among council members to using the Inglewood stadium for the ceremonies gave pause to LA 2024 officials about their plans, Sykes said, "We don't have potential plans in place until we're ready to reveal them. We haven't said anything about that."

Sykes, however, did make it clear that LA 2024 officials are focused only on the 2024 Games. IOC President Thomas Bach on Thursday said the organization would study the possibility of awarding both the 2024 and 2028 host cities next September in Lima, Peru.

"We don't know anything about what they intend to do," Sykes said during a meeting of the City Council's committee on Los Angeles' Olympic bid. "They have not spoken to us about this directly so we have no insight, and I would just make sure that I'm very, very clear we're bidding for 2024. And the presentation here, the budget here, all of our work is aimed at 2024. We've given no consideration to 2028 at this point. I don't want there to be any (confusion)."

LA 2024 released a proposed balanced $5.3 billion budget for a privately funded third Los Angeles Olympics earlier this month. Holding the opening and/or closing ceremonies at the Inglewood stadium instead of the Coliseum could generate tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars, in additional revenue because of the new stadium's state-of-the-art amenities and the cost of upgrades the Coliseum would need to host either ceremony.

Venue overlay is listed as the Games' biggest expense at $1.19 billion. The Coliseum, as host of the track and field competition, would remain the centerpiece of the 2024 Olympics and the Games' most lucrative venue.

Even so, City Council members would have to be convinced of the economic benefits of moving the ceremonies from such an iconic Olympic landmark to Inglewood. Councilman Paul Krekorian told Sykes and LA 2024 officials the council would demand a significant "voice" in any major venue changes.



sreid@scng.com

 
December 11, 2016
 
 
 

 

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