Here’s how the 2030 Winter Olympics could impact Utah’s economy

The Olympic cauldron was lit, marking the 20th anniversary of the opening ceremony of the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Games at the University of Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium on February 8. long-term economic impacts the 2030 Winter Olympics and Paralympics would have on Utah if it were awarded the Games. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

Estimated reading time: 6-7 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY – The 2030 Winter Olympics and Paralympics would bring the world’s top athletes to Beehive State and have a significant economic impact for the state.

“The nice thing about the Olympics being offered to a community is that we can count on some improvement in our economic situation,” said Fraser Bullock, President and CEO of the Games Committee. of Salt Lake City. “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.”

The University of Utah‘s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute’s Reporters’ Breakfast Tuesday focused on the short- and long-term economic impacts the Games would have on Utah’s capital, as well as on job growth and economic output. Currently, Salt Lake City is in the running to host the 2030 or 2034 Winter Games.

A recent economic study by the institute estimates that the 2030 Winter Olympics will contribute $3.9 billion to the state’s economic output.

“It’s the equivalent of a turnover; it captures the gross amount of economic activity,” said Natalie Gochnour, director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.

It is also estimated to bring about 30,000 job-years of employment and a $1.5 billion impact on personal income.

A chart shows the economic impacts the 2030 Winter Olympics could have in Utah.  May's Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute Newsmaker Breakfast focused on the short- and long-term economic impacts the 2030 Winter Olympics and Paralympics would have on Utah's capital, as well as levels job growth and economic output that the state could see.
A chart shows the economic impacts the 2030 Winter Olympics could have in Utah. May’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute Newsmaker Breakfast focused on the short- and long-term economic impacts the 2030 Winter Olympics and Paralympics would have on Utah’s capital, as well as levels job growth and economic output that the state could see. (Photo: Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute)

As for new spending, the 2030 Winter Olympics in Utah would include approximately $3.2 billion in direct spending from broadcast rights, visitors, federal security spending and other sources. . These expenses are offset by out-of-state purchases, in-state revenue streams, and relocating skier visits.

Additionally, the games are estimated to generate $22 million in net revenue for the state and $42 million in net local revenue.

“These are solid economic numbers,” Gochnour said. “We’ve done this before (and) we’re real experts at understanding the economic impacts.”

Lessons learned from 2002

Bullock said that while the economic impact of the 2030 games is estimated to be lower than the 2002 games – not least because of the infrastructure that had to be put in place ahead of the games – it will still provide a “significant boost “to the economy. .

Infrastructure investment in 2002 was over $450 million; in 2030, those investments should be closer to $25 million, Gochnour said.

While this is a negative impact in terms of economic impact, it actually strengthens Utah’s bid to host the 2030 games since all the infrastructure is already more or less in place.

“The only capital we need to do is just ongoing maintenance and upgrades to our existing sites, track shade systems and various other things like that which will ensure that our sites are completely up to date and ready for the games in 2030,” Bullock said.

This reality is also what may separate Salt Lake City from other cities looking to host the games, including Sapporo, Japan, and the “enormous costs” it could face to host the 2030 games.

“We think our particular offering is very strong in a lot of ways,” Bullock said. “Including the experience and the existing infrastructure that we have in place.”

He added that he expects to know by early 2023 whether Salt Lake City is in “focused dialogue” with the International Olympic Committee – meaning the IOC is interested in entering into a contract with Salt Lake. – before the attribution of the games in May. 2023.

“In every way we’re stronger and we don’t have to make infrastructure investments,” Bullock said.

Managing Risks and Protecting Utah’s Interests

The events of 9/11 weighed heavily on the 2002 Olympics, and Bullock said the Salt Lake City Committee for the Games focused on “flexibility” around the games.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen and we’re planning whatever we can imagine,” Bullock said.

To do this, the first step is to plan for contingencies and try to predict different events that may change plans, such as a pandemic.

“We have, in our budget, an emergency item of $200 million because we know things happen. And we had a similar number in 2002, and we’re working on it, but we had a surplus even though we had the negative impact of 9/11,” Bullock said.


It’s very contagious — the good things that come from games.

–Natalie Gochnour, Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute


The second thing the Salt Lake City Committee for the Games is doing is creating flexibility in contracts such as Venue Use Agreements, where they have agreed to pay rent for the use of a facility for Games.

“Rather than contracting them and guaranteeing payment today if we get the games, we have the ability to terminate those contracts, whether they be hotel rooms and user agreements, until in September before the Games,” said Bullock. “If something happened, we want to have flexibility in all of our contracts to be able to deal with that.”

In addition, the Salt Lake City Committee for the Games has cancellation or postponement insurance built into its budget. Bullock said they spent $2.5 million on a $150 million game cancellation or postponement insurance policy.

“We believe that with our budget contingency, with flexible contracts on both the revenue side and the cost side, and with gaming risk insurance, we can cover it because we know our obligation is to protect the taxpayers of Utah,” Bullock said. .

Balancing Games with Growth

Gochnour noted that there is both frustration and optimism associated with the growth Utah is experiencing.

When she asked Bullock what he thought of Utah’s growth challenges in relation to the 2030 Olympics, he said he expects the long-term impacts on the state to be less significant than the temporary impacts it will cause. Bullock further noted that Utah is “already on the world map,” following the 2002 Winter Olympics and thanks to the state’s vibrant technology and innovation sector.

Looking at Utah’s job base, Bullock said, the 6,000 to 8,000 full-time jobs — lasting more than a year — created for the games are more of a temporary boost.

“In that context, it’s really this temporary boost to be able to welcome the world (and) do something really special for the world,” Bullock said. “In terms of long-term economic growth, I don’t see it going to have much impact because it’s really a temporary thing.”

Beyond the economic impacts, Gochnour said that having experienced the 2002 Games, she saw the positive aspects of hosting an event of this magnitude permeate other aspects of the society of the Utah.

“What I see is a community that has a vision, a community that knows it’s a winter sports capital, a community that knows it can do these things very competently and by doing that, we’re able to extend that to other parts of what we’re doing in Utah,” Gochnour said. “It’s very infectious — the good things that come from games.

The full Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute report is available here.

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Logan Stefanich is a reporter for KSL.com, covering Southern Utah communities, education, business, and military news.

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