In the six years since Los Angeles hosted the 2028 Summer Olympics, support for hosting the massive sporting event remains widespread, though it may have begun to wane.
Fifty-seven percent of Angelenos believe the Games will be good for Los Angeles, according to a Suffolk University/Los Angeles Times poll conducted March 9-12. Twenty percent are concerned that the accommodation will have a negative impact on the city.
The survey also showed that younger Los Angeles residents are more skeptical than older ones that the Games will benefit the city.
Polls conducted over 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 to host the Olympic Games. The difference may indicate a decline in support, but since those polls were conducted among a larger group of county and regional residents, the numbers are not entirely comparable.
The Summer Games last almost three weeks and bring together more than 10,000 athletes, as well as tens of thousands of officials and fans from around the world. They represent a huge logistics company, spanning a variety of locations.
The most recent survey is important for two reasons.
In the somewhat backlogged process by which cities often bid for the Games, there was no public referendum beforehand.
Still, city and state legislators have agreed to serve as financial backstop, pledging taxpayer dollars to cover any cost overruns for an event currently budgeted for nearly $7 billion.
LA28’s private organizing committee committed to paying all costs through corporate sponsorships, ticket sales, merchandising and other sources. Crucial to this promise has been the decision to avoid billions in construction by relying on existing venues like 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 those who responded to the survey, said of the Olympics. “I feel like it will bring more people and more revenue to our city.”
But there have been signs of concern from the community. The grassroots organization NOlympics LA sponsored a poll in 2018 that showed 45% of respondents countywide opposed the organization. That poll asked respondents whether their support might be influenced by the risk that tax dollars were at risk, but it did not include organizers’ forecast of a balanced budget and perhaps a surplus.
Some of those who responded to the most recent Suffolk University/Los Angeles Times poll worried about diverting attention from pressing issues like homelessness. And, with residents aware that previous host cities ran up large deficits, there are signs that organizers have failed to fully communicate their plans.
“Monetarily, it’s going to cost a lot,” said Christus Ahmanson, 29, of Mid-City, another respondent. “We will have a lot of infrastructure that will only exist and be useful for the Olympic Games.”
Opinions on lodging are fairly consistent across genders, races and political parties, the new survey found.
The increased support from residents over the age of 35 might have something to do with memories of the last time Los Angeles hosted the Olympics.
The 1984 Summer Games were a financial success, leaving more than $200 million in excess revenue. With many businesses switching to flextime and some residents going on vacation, the highways were remarkably free of traffic for those 17 days.
“Everything was good,” said Irene Goldenberg, 88, of Westwood.
The Games return to Southern California through an unusual deal in which the IOC arranged a compromise between two bid finalists, with Paris taking 2024 and Los Angeles agreeing to go second.
The 11-year wait has given LA28 organizers more time to rally corporate support, signing major deals with Delta Air Lines, Nike and others in an ongoing drive to reach out. $2.5 billion in domestic sponsorships.
Given the long preparation time, it is not surprising that only 27% of respondents said they were “very excited” about the 2028 Summer Games. Nearly 30% were “somewhat excited” while around 40% were ” not very” or “not at all” excited.
The Suffolk University/Los Angeles Times survey interviewed 500 adult residents of the City of Los Angeles, using live phone calls to cell phones and landlines. Quota and demographic information, including region, race, and age, were determined from Census and American Community Survey data. The surveys were administered in English and Spanish.
The sampling error margin for the total sample is 4.4 percentage points in either direction. The margins of error increase for smaller subgroups. All surveys may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to, coverage errors and measurement errors.