LA28 to save $150m through venue changes as swimming heads to SoFi Stadium

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The LA28 Olympic Games is to stage swimming events in front of record crowds at SoFi Stadium as organisers announced an overhaul of venues that will deliver more than $150m of savings.

The home of the NFL’s LA Rams and LA Chargers will become the largest swimming venue in Olympic history, with 38,000 seats. Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, recently hosted a record 20,700 crowd for the 2024 US Olympic Team Trials.

Under the updated venue plan, replacing initial plans laid out in 2017, gymnastics will be held at the vast Cryptocom Arena. Basketball will be held at Intuit Dome, the 18,000-capacity under-construction home of the NBA’s LA Clippers.

Organisers said the numerous venue shifts will achieve at least a $10m estimated economic improvement, reducing the cost and complexity of temporary stadium builds, overlays and operations. This will accumulate an estimated $156m in combined savings and revenue increases to support LA28’s budget.

“The Olympic and Paralympic Games represent the pinnacle of athletic competition and achievement, and we’re proud to host the Los Angeles 2028 Games in some of the greatest stadiums and arenas ever built,” said LA28 chairperson and president Casey Wasserman.

“LA28’s updated venue plan will provide the ideal Hollywood stage for the world’s top athletes, and choosing from spectacular existing venues, wherever they are, rather than building new permanent or temporary stadiums, achieves more than $150m in savings and new revenue to help maintain a balanced budget. We look forward to partnering with these venues, and their experienced operators and workforce, to deliver an unparalleled experience for athletes and fans in 2028.”

Athletics and swimming switch

The IOC Executive Board has approved all new venue assignments for Olympic sports, pending approval from the City of Los Angeles.

Athletics and Para Athletics will remain at the iconic and recently refurbished LA Memorial Coliseum, making it the only stadium in history to host track and field competitions in three Olympic Games.

LA28’s plans for Opening and Closing Ceremonies are unchanged, with parts hosted at both the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and SoFi Stadium. In a change to tradition, the 2028 athletics competition will move to the first week of the Olympic Games while the swimming competition will be held during the second week.

The Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area in the Valley will host BMX Freestyle and BMX Racing along with Skateboarding Park and Street. Archery will also be in Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Diving will return to the same pool that hosted the Aquatics events in the 1932 Olympic Games, the 1932 Pool in Exposition Park. Equestrian and Para Equestrian competitions, previously assigned to the Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area, will be held at an existing facility in Temecula.

Oklahoma to host canoe and softball events

Meanwhile, canoe slalom and softball competitions will be held away from Los Angeles in Oklahoma City. With no existing facilities that meet Olympic requirements, organisers are switching these events to a city 1,400 miles away. Canoe slalom would be at Oklahoma City’s Riversport Rapids, with the softball competition at Devon Park, the home of the annual Women’s College World Series since 1990.

“These assignments are also in alignment with the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020+5 recommendation which emphasizes sustainability by encouraging the use of existing venues beyond the region of the host city,” the organising committee wrote. “Both the canoe slalom and softball venues in Oklahoma City are built to international competition standards, ensuring a high-quality experience for athletes and fans.”

The 2028 summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles will take place from July 14-30, with the Paralympics to follow from August 15-28.

Reynold Hoover was recently appointed as the new chief executive of the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games organising committee, replacing Kathy Carter who stepped down in December.