As Los Angeles draws closer to being awarded a Summer Games — potentially in 2024 or 2028 — the cost of hosting the massive sporting event continues to be a big concern within the Olympic movement.
Japanese officials originally predicted they would spend less than $7 billion but have seen that number grow. Even with significant reductions, the current estimate tops $12 billion.
IOC officials in Tokyo this week to evaluate the city’s preparation want more cuts.
"It is important to us that when the costs of the Games and the final analysis become public, they are going to be a reason to attract candidate cities — to attract them rather than to scare them off," John Coates, who heads the evaluation team, told reporters.
“So if we appear to be pushing very hard on saving money it is for our own future that we do it, just as much as you want to do it for your taxpayers,” Coates was quoted as saying.
Money worries have prompted numerous cities to walk away from potential bids in recent years. The only two candidates left in the current cycle — Los Angeles and Paris — have put forth relatively slim proposals.
LA 2024’s $5.3-billion budget relies on using existing venues such as the Coliseum, Staples Center and Pauley Pavilion. Bid leaders believe they can cover all costs through various revenue streams and a contribution from the IOC expected to fall in the $1-billion to $2-billion range.
Paris would spend somewhat more because it must construct an expensive athletes’ village and a few other sites.
Venue and infrastructure construction have driven much of the budget overruns in recent Olympics. Sochi spent a reported $51 billion on the 2014 Winter Games and recent data suggests Rio de Janeiro spent in excess of $13 billion on the 2016 Summer Games.
Tokyo organizers have said additional savings are possible through the use of existing or temporary facilities. They have plans to move some events outside the city.
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