A Possible 2024 Olympic Stadium?

Recently, the USOC has been making noise about making a winnable bid for an Olympic Games, pointing towards 2024 as a likely target date. Note that various financial crises and the ever-expanding reach of soccer means that Tokyo might end up winning the 2020 bid by default, and it looks like a 2024 bid would see much less competition than the failed Chicago and New York bids did.

Rumors are that the IOC wants to come back to the USA for a summer games, in no small part because it would help keep the steady flow of TV money coming. (Games in vastly different time zones aren’t good for NBC, and what’s good for NBC is good for the IOC.) I’ve also heard that IOC bigwigs like California in particular, although that’s wilder speculation.

One thing that the USOC is very aware of in regards to a summer Olympic bid is that no suitable stadium currently exists in the United States. You need a large stadium in a major metropolitan area with a track in it. If you don’t have this you need to build it—which is very expensive—and just ask the English what kind of headache it can be in terms of trying to figure out what to do with the darn thing when the Olympics are over. The LA Coliseum is the only existing stadium that could be retrofitted for a track, but that’s not an ideal situation.

It’s with this in mind that I read the following passage from Peter King’s Tuesday column for Sports Illustrated:

Lost in the weekend of the officials returning and all the other mayhem from Week 4 in the NFL was the City Council in Los Angeles voting 12-0 on eight separate measures to approve construction of a 75,000-seat NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles, adjacent to the “LA Live”/Staples Center area downtown.
Tim Leiweke, the CEO of AEG, the company intending to build the stadium, knows he still needs a team to play in Los Angeles, and he still he needs a Daddy Warbucks to be a partner to the owner of that team. But as he told me over the weekend: “This is a moment we’ve never been at in Los Angeles. There was a lot of doubt that after 20 years of false starts and false alarms we’d ever get our act together enough to be on the verge of finally getting the NFL back in Los Angeles.”

The best point Leiweke made was about the area in Los Angeles where the stadium would be built. It’s a Super Bowl slam dunk. If there’s something NFL owners understand, it’s the power of synergy between pro football and the entertainment business, and having Los Angeles in the Super Bowl-site rotation.

‘It’s the perfect Super Bowl site — maybe the best Super Bowl site ever,” he said. “We have a 100-acre campus with the Staples Center, hockey and basketball teams, all the hotels. No one has to get in a bus once they come. It’s all here. Everyone raved about the convenience of Indianapolis. We’ll be like Indianapolis on steroids.”

And a perfect site for a central Olympic cluster of venues. Since the blueprints for the stadium haven’t even been drawn up yet, there’s plenty of time for the USOC to talk AEG into including a track for the Olympics—and, if we dare to dream it, a Stade de France style setup where the track can stay in perpetuity yet not impede football sightlines.

These are nothing but crazy ideas running around in my head. I just thought I’d let them run around inside your head, too.

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