Why the economic impact of more Utah Olympics would be less

A new analysis Shows hosting the 2030 Winter Games would bring Utah $2.2 billion, released Tuesday, down $500 million from construction, visitor spending and federal security funding added to the 2030 Winter Games. economy since the first state Olympics two decades ago.

“It’s still a significant amount, a boost for our economy,” said Fraser Bullock, president and CEO of the Salt Lake City-Utah Games Committee that bids for other Olympics, during from the University of Utah Kem C. Gardner Institute May Conference. to eat lunch.

Bullock, chief operating officer of the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Games, said what would be a total economic impact of $3.9 billion projected in the Gardner Institute analysis could make a big difference in the ability of the state to withstand the end of the current booming economy.

That’s what happened when a recession hit in the early 2000s, he said.

“While everything looks good today, cycles inevitably occur, and the nice thing about the Olympics being brought to a community is that we can count on some improvement in our economic situation,” Bullock told a virtual audience.

“Who knows what will happen by 2030, but we will have this extra layer of economic activity that we can rely on even if there is a downturn in the economy like the one we experienced in 2000. He was really something that was beneficial to us at the time.

Natalie Gochnour, director of the Gardner Institute, had previously warned that the overall economic impact of other Olympics would be less than the more than $6 billion calculated in a study 2018 because the venues and other necessary infrastructure have been built.

Gochnour pointed out Tuesday that capital investment in the 2002 Games, largely construction of competition venues, amounted to more than $450 million in 2021 dollars, compared to less than $25 million expected be needed for the next Olympic Games.

Bullock said that while this is “negative on the economic impact side, it’s a really big boost for our offering because all the infrastructure is in place. The only capital (projects) we need to do are just some ongoing maintenance and upgrades to our existing venues,” such as shading for the bobsleigh, luge and skeleton track near Park City .

What he called “a very modest amount of capital” in the $2.2 billion 2030 budget includes nearly $15.6 million to prepare the track and other facilities at the Olympic Park. Utah for the competition, as well as $6.35 million at the Soldier Hollow Nordic Center in Midway and $1.2 million for the Utah Olympic Oval speed skating track in Kearns.

Still, Bullock pointed out that hosting again would be a temporary boost to the state’s economy, adding between 7,000 and 8,000 full-time jobs for more than a year to “do something really special for the world”. He played down any long-term growth issues, saying unlike 20 years ago, Utah is on the world map.

The total economic impact of $3.9 billion would span from 2024 to 2031 and generate $1.5 billion in personal income, according to the analysis, which also showed the state would bring in $99 million in related revenue, offset by $78 million in expenses for a net of $22. million, and the local government would earn just over $42 million.

The proposed budget for the 2030 Winter Games does not include any state or local taxes, Bullock said, although the federal government should bear much of the cost of security, just as it does for other events. majors like the Super Bowl.

2030 or 2034?

Salt Lake City is competing for 2030 against three other cities that have also hosted Olympics before – Sapporo, Japan, the 1972 Winter Games; Vancouver, Canada, 2010 Winter Games; and Barcelona, ​​Spain, the 1992 Summer Games. Barcelona competes with the mountainous region of the Pyrenees.

With Salt Lake City and Sapporo considered the former, even though the Japanese city is facing cost issues, the two could end up being chosen as future hosts by the International Olympic Committee because a new, less formal bidding process would allow the 2030 and 2034 Winter Games to be awarded at the same time.

Bullock said he hopes the IOC will narrow the field before the end of the year, with a final decision coming in 2023. As part of the new bid process, the IOC is entering into discussions with any interested city before select the best candidates for what is called “targeted dialogue” aimed at finalizing a hosting agreement.

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee chose Salt Lake City over Denver more than three years ago as the country’s choice for an unspecified Winter Games since Los Angeles already has the 2028 Summer Games. Utah therefore focused on 2030 or 2034, although Bullock said the sooner the better.

But he said the USOPC was still working on how the country could hold back-to-back Olympics without sacrificing domestic sponsorship revenue. That could include sharing staff or offering other assistance to Los Angeles to cut costs, Bullock said.

For now, all contracts being negotiated by the Bid Committee – including for 17,000 hotel rooms so far as well as with ski resorts and other venues, such as the U. , where the athletes will be housed and the opening and closing ceremonies held at Rice-Eccles Stadium could be used for 2030 or 2034, he said.

“Yes, we aspire to 2030 but we recognize that everything has to align for that to happen,” acknowledged Bullock. “And if that doesn’t happen, we will certainly aggressively pursue 2034.”

What could happen to other Olympic Games?

Other Olympics in Utah would not be the same as in 2002, he and Gochnour said. The Winter Games are about 40% bigger than they were two decades ago, and Utah has changed too. Bullock said the venues not only continued to be used by community and elite athletes, but many, like Rice-Eccles Stadium, expanded.

Gochnour, who worked for the government at the time. Mike Leavitt in 2002 said she realized “when you have something this big, when the spotlight is this bright, everything has to get better”. The result is “we take care of things better. We invest better. We think more about what we do because of the intensity and seriousness of the effort.

The most important legacy of hosting the Olympics, she said, “is what it did for ourselves, for our confidence, for our ability to do things better in Utah.” . Now the state “knows that it can do these things very competently, and in doing so we are able to extend that to other parts of what we do,” Gochnour said,

For Bullock, the 2002 Games were a time when tens of thousands of people gathered downtown every night to soak up the atmosphere, when “it felt like a unity in our community like never before.” That’s what he wants to see repeated at the next Olympics and hopefully beyond.

“I look forward to that time again, where no matter the political party, no matter the economic stratum, everyone can come to a live site and just be together. And feel that unity and celebrate the coming together of the world,” said Bullock, adding that he would like to see the Games act as a catalyst to retain that “unique feeling”.