Economic impact of a 2030 Olympics in Utah? Dollars and jobs!

May 24, 2022, 3:26 PM
2030 Olympics in Utah...
The Olympic Cauldron burns again, marking the 20-year anniversary of the Salt Lake 2002 Olympics opening ceremony at Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Courtesy of Salt lake 2030

SALT LAKE CITY — What would it mean, financially, to host the 203o Olympics in Utah?  

To find out, the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah conducted a study on the economic impact. It was requested by Salt Lake 2030, the organizing group hoping to bring the winter games back to Utah.

Related: Utah Olympic organizers moving forward on next Winter Games bid

“A lot of money comes from outside the state to put on the games, and that money turns into jobs and income for Utahns,” said Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute Director, Natalie Gochnour. She joined KSL at Night this week to talk about her experience studying the impact of the games in 2002 and the possible 2030 Olympics in Utah.

“Because we already have a bobsled, luge, speedskating oval, Rice Eccles Stadium, Vivint Arena – all of these things it takes to put on the games – it makes it so we have far fewer expenditures,” Gochnour said.

“But we still get the economic impact from hosting the games, from all the visitors that come to the games, and really the reputation that it builds for our state.”

How big of an impact would the 2030 Olympics in Utah have?

“We estimate that these games will have a $3.9 billion impact in terms of total economic impact and 30,000 job-years of employment. So there is a build-up, but if you had to express it in one number, it’s 30,000 job years of employment. About $1.5 billion in personal income to our state.”

(Note, a job year is defined as one year of work for one person.)

Of course, there is a cost to putting on the games. “There is a cost to this,” Gochnour said, “so we have to estimate how much does it cost us to have the games. From that, we’re able to estimate that we will have a net gain in state and local tax revenue.”

Related: Another Utah Olympic bid? Not a matter of “if” but “when”

According to the report, the 2030 Games in Utah would require $23.1 million in capital investments. These include improvements to the sliding track, a new equipment maintenance building, renovation to the Nordic lift, and a sports turf field for Nordic flats at the Utah Olympic Park.

Capital investments for the 2030 Games in Utah also include ski trails, parking and road improvements, and course lighting at Soldier Hollow.

The most important part

Even with all of that revenue to both government and private entities, the money isn’t the best part, according to Gochnour.

“When I watched the 2002 Olympics, and as I study what a 2030 games would look like, bar none I think the most important impact is what it does to a community to unite it, to bring it together, to get better in every way.

Related: Utah Olympic organizers to visit Beijing despite call for boycott

“When you’re hosting an event of this magnitude, the 2002 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony had a viewing audience of over 1.2 billion people around the world, and they were focused on the University of Utah campus, on Rice Eccles Stadium. So, when the spotlight is that bright, it forces you to get better in every way.”



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Economic impact of a 2030 Olympics in Utah? Dollars and jobs!