The Los Angeles 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Bid Committee has hired Weber Shandwick for global communications support, and despite the current tumultuous political landscape, the committee is confident the city will be judged on its merits.
Weber Shandwick was awarded the business following a competitive review that included "several global PR firms," said LA 2024 Chief Communications Officer Jeff Millman, who added that the Interpublic Group shop has a "track record of success" when it comes to the Olympics. The agency has been working on Olympic bids and with host cities for more than 20 years, including Sochi 2014, Beijing 2022 and Tokyo 2020.
If Los Angeles, which is up against Paris, wins the bid for the 2024 games, it will be the first time in nearly 30 years that the Olympics are held in the U.S. A decision will be made by the International Olympic Committee in September. While President Donald Trump recently gave his support for the bid city, a number of former Olympians and analysts have reportedly voiced concerns that the administration's policies, such as the immigration travel ban, will hurt Los Angeles' chances of winning.
Mr. Millman said the International Olympic Committee judges the bids "on their merits, not politics" and Weber Shandwick Chairman Jack Leslie said that the committee is "wise enough" to understand that politics always change and the political landscape could be a lot different eight years from now.
"Where politics create divide, the Olympics bring people together," Mr. Millman said. "The sports and Olympic movement is about bringing the world together and celebrating humanity."
LA 2024 has also been working with the administration to make sure all international athletes can enter the country and compete in the games, said Mr. Millman.
Weber Shandwick is tasked with promoting the bid in international markets where Olympic stakeholders live and work, as well as providing strategic insight into the entire process. Unlike some bid cities in the past, Mr. Leslie said the agency won't have to work on a campaign in Los Angeles because 88% of the city has said they support the bid.
Some of the key communications points to IOC members and Olympic stakeholders will focus on the fact that Los Angeles can "ensure financial stability" and help bring forward the future of the games, said Mr. Leslie. The city plans on using its own existing venues, and the bid committee already has a transportation plan in place as part of its proposal.
Additionally, Los Angeles is a diverse city centered around "creativity" and the intersection of entertainment, technology and new media, said Mr. Leslie.
Because Los Angeles is a low-risk solution, Mr. Millman said, that could also help restore credibility to hosting the games.
"2024 will not only focus on 2024, but on the future of the Olympic movement," said Mr. Millman. "The world is changing and so are the needs of the Olympic movement, and we have the unique ability to re-engage the world's youth, grow each sport and encourage future cities to bid."