The International Olympic Committee voted unanimously Tuesday to break with tradition and award two games at once. Los Angeles and Paris are the only competitors left for 2024. But it’s been clear since early this year that the IOC is leaning toward awarding the next two games at the same time, to streamline the selection process and provide greater financial stability to the games.
Hosting a modern Olympics practically guarantees massive debt and cost overruns, and many cities have abandoned bids recently. Researchers at Oxford’s Saïd Business School estimate the cost overrun for the 2016 Summer Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro, was $1.6 billion.
“Brazil is not a unique case. All summer and winter games that we’ve studied have shown cost overruns,” wrote Bent Flyvbjerg, the lead researcher. “For a city and country to host the games is a huge undertaking and one of the most costly and financially risky mega-projects they can undertake.”
IOC Vice President John Coates suggested Tuesday that the Los Angeles and Paris Olympic committees will be left to figure out who should host in which year. The decision would then be ratified in September. If the two cities can’t settle the question of who would get which games, the IOC would decide in September. In that case, the 2028 games could be open to additional bidders.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said two of the world’s “greatest cities” stand ready to host the Olympics.
“We look forward to working with the IOC and Paris in the weeks ahead to turn this golden opportunity into a golden future together,” he said.
Paris and Los Angeles were left as the only contenders for 2024 when Budapest withdrew its bid in February. Officials from both Paris and Los Angeles had stressed that their cities already have more than 90% of the facilities they need to host, reducing the additional cost.