Olympic bids from Los Angeles and Paris to host the 2024 Games received praise from the International Olympic Committee’s evaluation commission in a report released Wednesday. That same report included new polling numbers on support of each bid that show Los Angeles with a 15% advantage.
Commission chair Patrick Baumann called both “outstanding,” saying they were low-risk and high-reward propositions for the cities and the IOC.
“With Los Angeles and Paris, the Olympic Games are in very good hands,” Baumann said, noting commission members highlighting the innovative aspects of the Los Angeles bid and the historic parts of Paris’ bid.
“The two projects are different in nature, but each city presents a proposal which is genuinely authentic and reflects the best of what each has to offer,” Baumann said.
The 180-page report comes following three-day visits that the commission made to both cities in May. Its release comes with the IOC set to meet next week to vote on a recommendation to award the 2024 and 2028 Olympics simultaneously.
In addition to the evaluation of the bid and technical analysis of the cities’ plans, the report included recent polling that showed Los Angeles garnering more support and less opposition to the Olympics.
In February, the IOC also polled 1,800 people in the bid cities, the regions and elsewhere in the country. It found 78% support and 8% opposition for Los Angeles in the city. In Paris, the IOC’s polling found 63% support and 23% opposition.
That follows a February 2016 report from Loyola Marymount that found 88% support for Los Angeles’ bid.
“With no permanent venues to build and overwhelming public support, LA 2024 can concentrate on putting the best assets of the top global sports and entertainment market to work for the Olympic and Paralympic Movements,” said Casey Wasserman, LA 2024 chairman, in a statement. “We think that makes Los Angeles an ideal Olympic city and an ideal partner for the IOC right now.”
The commission highlighted the extensive use of existing venues by both cities in accordance with Agenda 2020, a reform that seeks to reduce the cost of bidding for and hosting the Olympics.
The OCOG budgets for both bids are “feasible and the financial risk is low for this stage of planning and budget development,” according to the report.
The report noted Los Angeles’ venue inventory exceeded the Games’ needs.
The commission noted as a challenge the implementation of a strong transport plan between Los Angeles’ four planned sports parks, saying it would “require significant efforts to manage and reduce traffic.” And it highlighted awareness of Paralympic sport as a challenge in the United States.
Among challenges the commission noted for Paris is the clean-up of the River Siene, where it plans to host triathlon and marathon swimming.
It estimated the security threat would be very low to low for the Games and Olympic-related travel, but it estimated the threat to the cities as low for Los Angeles and medium for Paris.
The report is intended to guide IOC members as they head toward a vote on Sept. 13 in Lima. What that vote will be for is likely to be decided next week when the IOC hosts a technical briefing for both bids.
During those meetings, IOC members will vote on a unanimous recommendation the executive board made last month to award the 2024 and 2028 Olympics at the same time, with one going to Los Angeles and one going to Paris.
The IOC has not outlined how the process would progress from there, including what negotiations it might have with the bid cities to consider accepting a 2028 Games.
In light of challenges the IOC has faced in bidding – more cities have dropped out of the last two cycles than have remained to the vote – president Thomas Bach is eager to address a process that “produces too many losers.”
Bids from Los Angeles and Paris “have put the Olympic movement in a win-win situation,” Baumann said in the report, “with very little to separate the two projects.”