With the City on the center stage, these events, that will be seen worldwide, could provide the catalyst for much needed change and improvement
The City of Santa Monica is set to witness some of the world’s biggest sporting events during the next decade including, most notably, the 2028 Olympics. Moreover, the 2026 FIFA World Cup final is currently scheduled to be played at the SoFi stadium and maybe the Rugby World Cup might pay a visit in 2031, as the USA will be the host nation.
Recently, Council submitted its guarantee to confirm that the vast swathes of Santa Monica sand will be used as the venue for the beach volleyball competition in the 2028 games.
The concept plan includes a temporary 12,000-seat stadium north of the Pier, plus warm-up and practice courts together with operational and broadcast components in Beach Lot 1 North. The plan also outlines security measures, transportation solutions and construction schedules.
“We’re looking forward to both the 2026 FIFA World Cup and the 2028 Olympics. We learned from recent large-scale events, including the Super Bowl and the All-Star Oceanfront Festival, there are logistic and resource challenges to these huge events, especially during the summer when we are already getting tens-of-thousands-of visitors each day,” Nathan Smithson, Director of Marketing, Pacific Park, said, adding, “Our goal is to work with the event organizers and provide unique solutions and ideas to give these world-class events some Santa Monica Pier character.”
Los Angeles had originally bid for the 2024 event. However, after multiple cities withdrew, only Paris and Los Angeles were left in contention, the International Olympic Committee approved a process to concurrently award the 2024 and 2028 Olympics to the two remaining candidates, with Los Angeles ultimately as the 2028 host.
Consequently, the city was formally awarded the Games at the 131st IOC Session in Lima, Peru, in September 2017. And this will mark the third time Los Angeles has hosted the games (1932, 1984 and 2028), putting the city in a tied first place spot with London (1908, 1948 and 2012).
“The Pier Corporation is eager to begin working with the City and the organizers of the Olympics and lend our expertise developed over the past several decades in producing our own large-scale events like the Twilight concerts as well as hosting many outside-produced events here at the Pier,” Jim Harris, Executive Director at the Santa Monica Pier Corporation said.
“The first-ever doubles beach volleyball game was actually played on the courts immediately south of the Pier in 1930, which gives such significant meaning to the selection of Santa Monica Beach for beach volleyball,” Harris said.
The preliminary construction plan for the 2028 Olympics would phase the closure of Beach Lot 1 North and the beach area as follows:
• April and May 2028: Approximately 400 spaces in Beach Lot 1 North would be occupied.
• June 2028: 800 spaces in Beach Lot 1 North would be occupied as well as the beach construction area.
• July 14 – 30, 2028: LA28 Summer Olympic Games.
• July and August 2028 (dates TBD): Entire Beach Lot 1 North and beach venue area would be fenced.
• August 2028 (dates TBD): tear down; approximately 800 parking spaces would be occupied in Beach Lot 1 North.
“We recognize, as does City Staff, that the Olympics plans with regard to traffic and parking will likely be the most complex that the City has had to prepare for, and the earlier that we can collectively get started on planning, the better,” said Harris.
Indeed, parking will probably be one of the largest logistical obstacles in Santa Monica that will need to be overcome, something that was touched upon in the most recent City Council meeting.
“We have already considered potentially having free shuttles from some of the other beach slots and also some of the satellite parking lots further east in the city near some of the Metro stations, so those are things that we definitely can consider and work with LA28 on,” Melissa Spagnuolo, Community Partnerships Manager, City of Santa Monica said.
According to the staff report, the closure of Beach Lot 1 North and reduced parking capacity during the Games would have significant impacts. “Alternative parking and transportation options, as well as a communication plan for residents and visitors, will be developed during the negotiation of the Venue Use Agreement,” it states.
The report also says that there is no immediate financial impact or budget action necessary as a result of the recommended action and that Staff will return to Council in the future with specific budget actions upon approval of the Venue City Games and Enhanced City Master Agreements.
“We are so excited for new business and international attention the upcoming Olympics Games will bring to Santa Monica, not only in hotel rooms and restaurants, but also retailers and experience venues as well,” Judy Kruger, President of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce told the Daily Press, adding, “The challenge of getting guests moved from venue to venue is also being considered with some very interesting options on the table. The long-term beneficial economic impact from the Olympics will be felt in Santa Monica for years to come.”