A record number of Los Angeles residents said the upcoming 2028 Olympics would not benefit the city, according to a new poll earlier this month. Polls in previous years have shown strong support.
In September 2017, Los Angeles was officially awarded the 2028 Olympics, third after hosting the 1932 and 1984 games. Many public concerns, such as costs and unusable post-game facilities, that plagued other cities that hosted the event at previous Olympics were quickly addressed by officials. With 11 years to prepare instead of the usual 5-7 years, as well as getting corporate sponsors and mostly using existing facilities instead of building, Los Angeles followed the 1984 Olympics model in hopes of profiting from the games.
“Los Angeles has done something that almost no other Olympics has done. They made a profit,” athletics historian Ashley Harrison told The Globe Tuesday. “And this time Los Angeles is doing the same. They have major sponsors, they use stadiums and other venues that have already been built and in many cases have been used previously for ’32 and ’84 games, and they plan to sell a lot of merchandise from there. This is a good plan.
For many residents, the lack of a financial burden outside the city agreeing to pay for any cost overruns as financial support, the prestige of the games, and the economic benefits the games are expected to bring to the city in July 2028, have made the Olympics a very positive development for city residents.
In 2016, a poll found that 88% of Angeleno residents were in favor of hosting the games. The following year, two polls showed that 78% and 83% of residents were respectfully in favour. Last year, support was still very high, with 76% of residents still supporting the games. However, worries about the cost of games due to inflation have troubled many residents since then, as have worries about what the games would do to divert resources from the homeless and affordable housing initiatives. Another major issue has been political backlash, as evidenced by the controversy over the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, the 2021 MLB All-Star Game that was moved from Atlanta to Denver, and other major events in recent years. .
According to a Suffolk University poll, only 57% of residents believe that the Olympics will benefit the city, indicating a sharp drop in the popularity of the Olympics among the area’s residents. While support among older residents remains high, with 68% of those aged 55 and over and 65% of those aged 35 to 54 saying it would be good for Los Angeles, younger residents remain more pessimistic. Only 39% of those ages 18 to 34 had a positive view of gaming, and 32% said gaming would be bad for Los Angeles.
“The prestige of the Olympics has been tarnished by numerous scandals and generally less hype around them,” Harrison added. “And since a lot of people are in financial trouble right now, yes, the survey results make sense. Young people do not want the city to be squandered, even after they have shown that it is paid for mainly by private funds. They also fail to see that other improvements, such as connecting Los Angeles to the subway and other necessary projects, have come about solely because of the Olympics.”
“However, it is clear that more and more people are wary of them, and given the history of the Games, this is understandable. The city needs to do a better job of showing the positives and highlighting the positives even in the face of financial hardship right now. More and more people are worried. Lighten them up.”
Los Angeles is due to host the Olympic Games in just over 5 years in July 2028.