Early returns on the Rio Olympics as a host city haven’t been great. Sochi struggled until the games opened. Developing nations and cities haven’t exactly won awards for their planning for large, marquee, international sporting events. It’s not just the Olympics: The World Cup in Brazil two years ago had myriad problems and upcoming World Cups in Russia and Qatar have run into multiple issues as well.
It has all come to a head. The challenge for developing nations has deteriorated to a point that the IOC may not look at developing countries to host games for the foreseeable future. This would be sad news for many countries hoping to host games, but great news for the LA2024 bid.
Hosting the Olympics or World Cup means that the host city must have infrastructure, hotels, mass transit and the necessary venues. In the case of Rio or Sochi, that meant building everything from the ground up because it didn’t really exist before. That is why there have been so many issues. It’s tough to build multiple venues, make sure the water is clean, the cities are safe, and have enough space for athletes, press, tourists and fans — especially if none of those amenities or basic expectations were there in the first place.
That is why Los Angeles may benefit the most from these Olympic Games. This is horrible to say, but the more things go wrong in Rio, the more LA2024 benefits. It’s pretty simple logic. Los Angeles already has the amenities, hotels, transit and history necessary for hosting Olympic Games. New venues don’t need to be built specifically for the Olympics because those venues either already exist — Staples Center, Galen Center, Coliseum, Rose Bowl, Pauley Pavilion, StubHub Center — or are set to be constructed before 2024 — Rams football stadium in Inglewood, LAFC soccer stadium, Clippers rumored Westside Arena. Literally everything an Olympic Games would need is already — or soon will be — in Los Angeles.
That means less government spending. It makes it less likely that Angelenos will be footing the Olympic bill that many cities have seen after the games. It means less graft and corruption. The city’s universities can double as dorms for the Olympic village. Athletes can feel safe going out in a developed city with enough police protection. Hotels will be expensive, but there is more than enough hospitality in the city. In short, Los Angeles is the anti-Rio.
Choosing L.A. would create less of a headache for the IOC. It would make NBC happier as well because there won’t be any time-delay issues. The leadership putting together the LA2024 bid are some of the smartest people in the industry. It just makes sense. That doesn’t mean the games are a lock for southern California — the IOC tends to make head-scratching decisions — but Rio is helping L.A. in its potential bid.