UTAH

SLC is ready for the 2030 Olympics, but are the Olympics ready for SLC?

Sep 16, 2023, 2:00 PM

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The Olympic rings and cauldron from the 2002 Winter Games are pictured at Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Monday, Oct. 31, 2022. (Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)

(Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s official, The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee endorsed Salt Lake City as its American bid city on Thursday.

What this means is that Utah is taking the necessary next steps to become the host of an upcoming Winter Olympics, but nothing is guaranteed. 

CEO of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games Fraser Bullock told KSL NewsRadio this was an expected announcement, but a key milestone for the bidding process. 

 

Aiming for ’34

Bullock said while Salt Lake City is running for both the 2030 and 2034 games, ’34 would be preferable.

Los Angeles is set to host the Summer Games in 2028. If Utah won the 2030 bid, another U.S. city hosting the Olympics just 18 months before could put a strain on domestic sponsorships. Bullock noted that if sponsors are tapped out after ’28, that can create a tight financial picture for Utah to welcome the world for the games. 

Regardless, Bullock said whatever ends up happening, “we can make it work… We’re ready to go.”

“Ready to rock and roll”

If Salt Lake City is announced to be the host of the 2030 Winter Games, that would give us just over six years to get things ready for the fanfare and whirlwind on it’s way. 

However, Utah is already more prepared than you might expect.  

“We are ready to rock and roll,” Bullock said. “We’ve got the venues. We’ve got 100% political support 82% public support, and the most important thing is we have the great volunteers and public that are the best at welcoming the world.”

Financial costs of hosting the Olympics have skyrocketed, with host cities historically not turning a profit, despite the revenue that comes with the publicity. This has led to many cities and countries retracting their Olympic bids due to cost concerns. However, it appears Salt Lake City doesn’t have this problem.

“We’re not asking for any money, state and local public money, for our bid, period,” Bullock explained. 

Since the venues were constructed for the games in 2002, the state has managed the upkeep, with some facilities even generating an income through their use over the years. Bullock said the primary use of the facilities is for the community. But, it just so happens to be useful to have these buildings pristine and ready to go as a potential host of the games.

On to the 2030 Olympics

Right now, Salt Lake City is waiting to be invited to “targeted dialogue,” which is essentially the conversation surrounding a contract for hosting the Winter Olympics. With Canada and Japan withdrawing their bids for 2030, Utah is going up against Sweden, Switzerland, and France. 

Bullock said despite the contest to host the games, he doesn’t see the other countries as competition.

“We’re cheering them on,” he said. “We’re hoping one of them puts together a real strong bid for 2030, which then allows us to ideally be positioned for the 2034 slot.”

Even though there will be some waiting involved, Bullock said there isn’t much left to prepare. 

Checked off of his to-do list are guarantees from the federal, state, and local governments, nearly all venues are under contract, they have a comprehensive budget, thousands of pages of plans, and 19,000 hotel rooms under contract — to name a few.

So, for Bullock, it’s not a question of whether Salt Lake City is ready for the Olympics, but whether the Olympics are ready for Salt Lake City.

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SLC is ready for the 2030 Olympics, but are the Olympics ready for SLC?