Is Utah hosting the Olympics a burden to taxpayers or an investment?

Jul 12, 2023, 7:00 PM

Sliding centers are reopening as the Luge World Cup returns to Olympic Park this winter for the fir...

FILE - In this Feb. 9, 2002 photo, Georg Hackl, of Germany, speeds past an Olympic logo during a practice run for the men's singles luge at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in Park City, Utah. Utah is being considered for a future Winter Olympics. However, facilities need to be maintained. Is that a burden to taxpayers or a major investment in Utah's economy. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah is under consideration to host the Winter Olympics in the future. When and if the Games return back to Salt Lake City, remains to be seen. 

Either way, however, millions of dollars are being spent to upgrade the facilities that were part of the 2002 Games. This leads to an important question – is the spending an investment in Utah’s economy or is it a huge burden to taxpayers?

Utah Sen. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork, member of the Winter and Paralympic Winter Games Coordination Committee, joined KSL NewsRadio to discuss the matter.


Utah Olympics in 2030 or 2034

“I think it’s a good thing that we maintain these venues,” McKell said.

He mentions a list of venues that the legislature is trying to help maintain. Those venues include: Weber County Sports Complex, Provo City Peaks Ice Arena and the Maverik Center in West Valley City. 

“These are facilities that would be used in a future Olympics,” McKell said. “But they’re being used regularly today.” 

McKell also mentions the Utah Olympic Park in Park City and the Salt Lake County Ice Rink as facilities that need to be maintained. 

“We have athletes training all over the world,” McKell said. “They’re training here today, not in anticipation of Olympics in 2030 or 2034. But that’s something that’s happening on an ongoing basis here in the state of Utah. So, we do need to make sure these facilities are maintained.”

A 50-50 match

McKell says the funding for maintaining some the facilities are a 50-50 match with the community. He says the renovation for the Salt Lake County Ice Rink is $8 million. McKell also says the legislature is seeking a 50-50 match to fund the renovation.

“That’s something that not only helps us be prepared for the Olympics in the future,” he said. “But that’s a facility that’s used by the community on an ongoing basis.”

On whether Utah will actually get to host the Games again, McKell says the feedback his committee has received is encouraging for either 2030 or 2034.

“But the feedback we received as a committee was very, very positive,” he said. “We think the Olympics are going to come back to the state of Utah.”

Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard on weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

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Is Utah hosting the Olympics a burden to taxpayers or an investment?