LANE ONE: LA2028’s first presentation: “What are you going to do for the next 10 years?”

LA2028 chair Casey Wasserman (USA)

Sometimes it’s best to just listen.

At the Association of National Olympic Committee’s General Assembly ongoing in Tokyo (JPN), the Chair of the Los Angeles 2028 organizing committee, Casey Wasserman, gave the first presentation to the Olympic Movement since the event was awarded last year.

He spoke for just more than 10 minutes, accompanied by a series of background slides on a giant screen just behind him.

Here’s the transcription of his remarks, which you can watch in their entirety on the ANOC YouTube Channel. It’s a small part of a seven and a half-hour session; Wasserman comes on at the 6:14:55 mark:

Good afternoon. Dear President Bach, ANOC Executive Council, all my NOC and IF friends, thank you for having us here today. And a special thank you to the Japanese Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee for the hospitality. I wish you all the best in your preparations for the next Summer Games.

It is truly wonderful to be here as a Host City, and to present to you for the first time since Los Angeles was awarded the Games [for] 2028. The ANOC General Assembly is special for us. Our first meeting in the Olympic Movement as a bid city was at your meeting in Washington, D.C. and our first official presentation was at your meeting in Doha, and happy to be here again today.

It’s an honor and a great responsibility to be a part of this Movement, and I thank all of you for your confidence and encouragement as we collectively work to shape the future of the Games.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to acknowledge the loss of my friend and the chairman of our Coordination Commission, Patrick Baumann. A devastating loss for the Movement; we will miss him in Los Angeles greatly and we will work to honor his memory every day through the Games of 2028.

There is nothing in our world that compares to the power of the Olympic and the Paralympic Movement. The Games represent the very best of what humanity is made of when people come together, put aside their differences, and celebrate sports and competition.

At LA2028, we are energized by the hope and optimism the Games provide. We believe that diversity, respectful inclusion and perhaps most importantly, connection to young people around the world will drive the Movement forward.

You know, in addition to my job with the Olympic Games and my company, I actually have another job. In fact, it’s a really important job that keeps me on my toes daily. I’m a parent. I have two kids, and while they can be difficult and complicated like all of ours are at times (laughs), they represent everything that is right with humanity and what lies ahead.

In my son and daughter, I see what I see in young people all around the world. I see hope for what the world can be, tenacity to make it better, and how, if we try new things with open arms and open minds, we can achieve dreams we never even knew were possible.

Long after the ‘28 Games are over, and you don’t have to hear from me any more, the Movement will carry on. And my hope is that the work that we do in Los Angeles will make the Movement thrive for generations to come.

Our dream for the Los Angeles Games is to host a transformative experience for everyone involved. We will support athletes, entertain fans and engage a new generation of Olympic and Paralympic dreamers.

Your athletes will take center stage as we aim to leave a lasting, positive impact on the Movement forever. Our vision for the Games is quite simple, and deeply inspired by Olympic Agenda 2020. LA2028 will fit the Games to the city.

We will focus on using the best resources available already. We will use our robust sports and entertainment infrastructure. We will use our vibrant creative community. And our diverse neighborhoods will warmly welcome people from all over the world to our city.

Our commitment to you is to spend the next 10 years focused on delivering the best experience for your athletes, the NOCs and the entire Olympic and Paralympic family.

So our Games plan, and what does that look like? Well, our Games plan is a reflection of our vision. We feature multiple sports parks that use the best of the city’s infrastructure and maximize the reach of the Games throughout the city. Our plan celebrates Olympic heritage and embraces the future.

Honoring history, 30% of our Games competition venues hosted events during the ‘32 and ‘84 Games in Los Angeles. And the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Southern California were the Olympic Villages in 1984. The majority of our Games plan venues represent the current backbone of L.A.’s infrastructure, including venues like Staples Center, home to the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers.

And looking to the future, we have the most technologically advanced, expensive stadium in the world being built by private dollars in Los Angeles that will open in a couple of years and will host some of the greatest events in the world, including Opening Ceremonies.

Before we move on from the Games plan, I’d like to tell you a little bit more about our Athlete’s Village at UCLA. Today, UCLA is home to more than 16,000 athletes – sorry – students from 130 countries. In other words, today, UCLA houses, feeds and delivers services for as many students as it will for athletes in 2028.

It has been home to more than 400 Olympians and offers a game-ready environment for extraordinary living, dining and on-site training facilities. In fact, 40% of Olympic athletes will be able to train on-site at the Village.

The question I hear time and time again, with no major construction, is “what are you going to do for the next 10 years?” … other than come to presentations like this. But we came light; it’s just [Director of Operations] Lenny [Abbey] and I here; no uniforms.

The answer is simple. We are seizing an unprecedented opportunity to focus 100% on creating the most compelling and engaging experience possible for your athletes, the NOCs and the entire Olympic and Paralympic family.

We’ve looked at this horizon in three phases. Phase I is our current focus. We are learning and listening from the Movement. In Phase II, we will finalize our Games plan, execute our commercial plan and implement our youth sports program. And in 2022, we enter Phase III: this is when the bulk of our scope as an OCOG will unfold and we apply the 3+4 Games planning framework.

So right now, our work is underway in three key areas. We’re building the foundation of our organization, we’re beginning our commercial plan and the implementation of our joint venture with the USOC, and we are doing the groundwork for impact programming – with the tremendous support and partnership of the IOC – around our youth sports initiative, that will create positive outcomes for our young athletes well before the ‘28 Games commence.

First, with respect to laying the foundation of our organization, we have spent significant time developing the vision and values to guide us for the next 10 years. We are building a core team that will execute our long-term vision, and we have developed an organization-wide strategic plan that guides our near-term and long-term goals and objectives.

Second – it’s a lot of logos (on the screen behind him) – we have established a joint venture with the USOC which will operate as LA28’s marketing and commercial team. That joint venture is responsible for managing our brand, developing new business, negotiating sponsorship deals and managing partner relationships. This team is responsible for, and will lead the charge to generating in excess of 2 1/2 billion dollars of revenue across sponsorships and licensing. The team is based in Los Angeles, as well as Colorado Springs and New York, and they are off to a good start.

As part of our historic agreement with the IOC and Paris 2024, we, the OCOG, took on the commitment of investing 160 million U.S. dollars in youth sports in the 10 years leading up to the Games in 2028 … what we believe may be the first pre-Games legacy in Olympic history. And we have been hard at work at developing our youth sports program as a way to effectively connect with the youth of our community.

And it’s already off to a great start. This summer, LA2028 financially supported – in partnership with the City of L.A.’s “Swim L.A.” program the launch and expansion of their services, led by Mayor [Eric] Garcetti. Drowning is a leading cause of death of kids under 16 across America and swim instruction is a vital part of staying safe. Parents and their kids shouldn’t have to worry about access to pools, or the cost of swim lessons.

With our collective help, Swim L.A. doubled the number of kids who had access to, and participated in the program, roughly 36,000 kids this summer, more than double what’s been done in the past. As you can see in this picture, the program kicked off at the Aquatics venue for the 1932 Olympics, a facility that still serves our community today , and is part of our plan for delivery in 2028.

And finally, our collaboration with the IOC and Paris 2024 is going well. Our friendship with Paris 2024 continues to grow. An LA2028 delegation attended Paris 2024’s first Co-Comm meeting in June and our teams continue to collaborate and look for ways to take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity. We participated in a number of productive meetings and workshops together to identify areas where we can share experience, knowledge and expertise.

And in 2019, our journey continues. We are working hard to create a brand that can live for the next 10 years and look forward to sharing with you and the world in the near future. And we look forward to being in front of you many times over the next 10 years. I hope they will all be as short and concise as this presentation because I know you have a lot on your agenda and we thank you for the opportunity. This concludes our presentation.

Wasserman’s delivery was calm and collected, and his remarks were met with polite applause; after all, Los Angeles is a long time in the future for the leaders of the 206 National Olympic Committees who were in attendance.

But it was an excellent start and answers the question of not only what will LA28 do for the next 10 years, but what have they been doing over the past year?

Rich Perelman