In the six years since Los Angeles was awarded the 2028 Summer Olympics, support for hosting the massive sports event remains widespread, although it may have begun to dip.
Fifty-seven percent of Angelenos believe the Games will be good for L.A., according to a Suffolk University/Los Angeles Times poll conducted March 9-12. Twenty percent worry that hosting will have a negative impact on the city.
The survey also showed that younger L.A. residents are more skeptical than their elders that the Games will benefit the city.
Polls during the past six years by the Los Angeles Times/Survey Monkey, Loyola Marymount University and the International Olympic Committee found between 76% and 83% approval for hosting the Olympics. The difference may indicate a decline in support, but since those surveys were conducted among a larger pool of county and regional residents, the numbers are not entirely comparable.
The Summer Games last for nearly three weeks, bringing together more than 10,000 athletes, plus tens of thousands of officials and fans, from around the world. They represent an immense logistical undertaking, encompassing an array of venues.
The most recent survey is important for two reasons.
In the somewhat backward process by which cities often bid for the Games, there was no public referendum beforehand.
Still, city and state legislators agreed to serve as a financial backstop, pledging taxpayer dollars to cover any cost overruns for an event currently budgeted at nearly $7 billion.
The private LA28 organizing committee has vowed to pay all costs through corporate sponsorships, ticket sales, merchandising and other sources. Crucial to this promise has been a decision to avoid billions in construction by relying on existing venues such as Crypto.com Arena, Pauley Pavilion and Dignity Health Sports Park.
“I think it’s a good thing,” Marissa Hamilton, a 42-year-old Sherman Oaks resident who was one of the respondents to the poll, said of the Olympics. “I feel like it will bring more people in and more revenue for our city.”
But there have been signs of community concern. The grass-roots organization NOlympics LA sponsored a poll in 2018 which showed 45% of respondents countywide opposed to hosting. That survey asked respondents if their support might be influenced by tax dollars being at risk, but did not include organizers’ forecast of a balanced budget and, perhaps, a surplus.
Some respondents to the most recent Suffolk University/Los Angeles Times poll worried about diverting attention from pressing issues such as homelessness. And, with residents cognizant that previous host cities accumulated large deficits, there are signs organizers have not fully succeeded in communicating their plans.
“Monetarily, it’s going to cost a whole hell of a lot,” said Christus Ahmanson, 29, of Mid-City, another poll respondent. “We’ll have a lot of infrastructure that is only going to exist and be helpful for the Olympics.”
Opinions about hosting are fairly consistent across genders, races and political parties, the new poll found.
The greater support from residents 35 and older might have something to do with memories of the last time L.A. hosted the Olympics.
The 1984 Summer Games were a financial success, leaving behind more than $200 million in surplus revenue. With many businesses switching to flex hours and some residents leaving on vacation, the freeways were surprisingly clear of traffic for those 17 days.
“Everything about it was good,” said Irene Goldenberg, 88, of Westwood.
The Games are headed back to Southern California by way of an unusual deal in which the IOC arranged a compromise between two bid finalists, with Paris taking 2024 and L.A. agreeing to go second.
The 11-year wait has given LA28 organizers longer to drum up corporate support, signing major deals with Delta Air Lines, Nike and others in a continuing campaign to reach $2.5 billion in domestic sponsorships.
Given the extended preparation time, it might not be surprising that only 27% of poll respondents said they were “very excited” about the 2028 Summer Games. Almost 30% were “somewhat excited” while about 40% were “not very” or “not at all” excited.
The Suffolk University/Los Angeles Times poll interviewed 500 adult residents of the city of Los Angeles, using live telephone calls to cellphones and landlines. Quota and demographic information — including region, race and age — were determined from census and American Community Survey data. Surveys were administered in English and Spanish.
The margin of sampling error for the total sample is 4.4 percentage points in either direction. Error margins increase for smaller subgroups. All surveys may be subject to other sources of error, including but not limited to coverage error and measurement error.
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