Leaders of the successful effort to bring the summer Olympics back to Los Angeles told a UCLA School of Law audience on March 1 how they navigated international competition to secure the bid and how they plan to navigate the long road to hosting the games.
LA 2028 Chairman Casey Wasserman and General Counsel Brian Nelson offered insights and answered questions before a group of more than 60 UCLA Law students and others. The event was part of the In Sports series sponsored by the Ziffren Center for Media, Entertainment, Technology and Sports Law.
Wasserman described the process of submitting detailed bids to the IOC, watching as Boston's effort to represent the U.S. in the 2024 bidding crumbled, working to earn votes as IOC members considered rival cities including Paris and Budapest, and celebrating the novel outcome when the IOC awarded two summer games at once – 2024 to Paris and 2028 to Los Angeles.
The 2028 games will bring more than 17,000 athletes to L.A. to compete in 40 sports over 17 days. Through ticket sales, commercial sponsorships and support from the International Olympic Committee, LA 2028 plans to break even on a budget of $5.3 billion.
UCLA will host the Olympic Village, as it did during the 1984 games.
Wasserman outlined efforts to obtain sponsorship and commercial support for the games, negotiations with the city on traffic and other concessions, and the launch of a nearly $160 million commitment to youth sports programs around Los Angeles in the long run-up to the games.
"If we do this right," Wasserman said, "one of those kids that participate in a rec and park program next year will walk in the Olympic ceremonies in the summer of 2028."
Nelson, who served as a special advisor to the Department of Justice during the Obama Administration and later as general counsel for then-California Attorney General (now U.S. Senator) Kamala Harris, addressed the complexity and excitement of doing legal work for an enterprise that has legal relationships that cross international boundaries and involves a dizzying array of commercial and governmental partners.