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Olympic Soccer in the Rose Bowl?

Published on Monday, September 12, 2016 | 4:00 am
1984 Olympics soccer in the Rose Bowl.

The Rose Bowl and the Pasadena City Council intend to negotiate hosting up to eight soccer matches in the Rose Bowl if Los Angeles is selected to host the 2024 Olympic Games.

In fast-developing events, the Rose Bowl Operating Committee approved the proposal last Thursday and on Monday, Rose Bowl General Manager Darryl Dunn is scheduled to meet with the Council and a member of the Los Angeles 2024 Exploratory Committee in a closed door session to discuss price and terms of payment for the deal.

Few specifics about the proposal are known except the recommendation approved by the Rose Bowl Operating Committee stipulated that in making the commitment, neither the Rose Bowl or the City will “have any financial exposure or increased liability as a result of the Games.”

The proposed agreement also would require that the Los Angeles Olympic organization “make an investment” in an unspecified capital improvement in the Rose Bowl Stadium.

Olympic soccer is not new to the Rose Bowl. During the 1984 Games, the stadium hosted the Bronze and Gold Medal Matches before a combined total attendance of 202,000 people over two days.

The proposed eight matches would push the number of so-called “displacement” events in the Rose Bowl over the maximum number allowed by city code, and would require Council authorization.

It is unclear how local homeowners and neighborhood associations who previously rejected the NFL’s bid to bring the Los Angeles Rams to Pasadena will feel about bringing the Olympics to the Rose Bowl.

“In general, the events in the Rose Bowl are probably a good thing for the city but it certainly does have an impact on those neighbors, and that’s an issue,” said Jonathan Edewards, President of the Downtown Pasadena Neighborhood Association.

Events have developed so rapidly that West Pasadena Residents Association President Kenyon Harbison said his organization, as of Friday, had “not yet had the opportunity to evaluate and talk about this as a board.”

It is by no means certain that Los Angeles will in fact be the city chosen for the 2024 Olympics.

Congress in July approved a bipartisan resolution of support to see the games come to the United States for the first time in 28 years.

“I’m proud to have introduced along with several of my colleagues this resolution to say that America will do all it can so that Los Angeles and our country continue a proud Olympic tradition,” Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-CA) said in an interview at the time.

In August, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti set his vision of how he would like to see the city host the Olympics.

“LA has been preparing for the 2024 Games since the Olympic flame was extinguished at the Closing Ceremony of the 1984 LA Games,” said Garcetti in a statement. “Our Olympic infrastructure is already in the ground, not on the drawing boards. We are virtually risk-free because we only have to build one venue to host the Games.”

The initial negotiating meet for the 2024 Olympic soccer games is set to occur in closed session at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Council Chamber of Pasadena City Hall located at 100 North Garfield Avenue.


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