An Overwhelming Majority of Utahns Support Second Salt Lake City Olympics

Only a day after an Exploratory Committee met for the first time to discuss an Olympic bid by Salt Lake City, a new poll revealed that 89 per cent of citizens across Utah want to see the Winter Games hosted for a second time in the state capital, after the successful 2002 edition.

Rice-Eccles Stadium and 2002 Olympic Cauldron in Salt Lake City

Rice-Eccles Stadium and 2002 Olympic Cauldron in Salt Lake City

A poll conducted by Dan Jones & Associates and released by the Utah Sports Commission Tuesday surveyed 600 residents across the state between November 14 and 21, and the overwhelming approval comes with a margin of error of 4 per cent.

At the initial meeting Monday, the committee’s co-chair Fraser Bullock made it clear that the city is ready to host again, and he was targeting a budgetary surplus if the city is chosen to stage the Games in 2026, 2030 or beyond.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune he said “We have to nail it,” adding “we don’t want to just break even.”

Bullock said the $1.5 billion estimate to host the Games would need to be reduced to $1.2 billion in order for plans to move forward, and some cost saving measures are already in the works including the use of the existing ski jump that is currently shorter than current standards.

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) jumped into the Winter bid process late, waiting until Los Angeles was formally elected to host the Games in 2028 as part of a double-allocation that also saw Paris awarded the 2024 Games.  USOC Chair Larry Probst said a double-allocation for the 2026 and 2030 Games is possible too, and he wants a U.S. city in the hunt, hopefully to lay claim to 2030.

Along with Salt Lake City, Denver and Reno-Tahoe have expressed interest in bidding for the U.S. – but neither have made any progress.

The application deadline set by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is March 31 in order for a city to be considered when the IOC invites the best bids to move forward in October next year.  The election is September 2019 in Milan.  Last month the IOC said that its possible for multiple U.S. bids to apply by the deadline to be eligible if the USOC has yet complete the domestic vetting process to select a single nominee.

Internationally, Sion in Switzerland is preparing a bid but will face a referendum over the project on June 10.  On Monday Calgary’s city council voted to fund further exploration of a bid by as much as CAD $2 million (USD $1.57 million) to determine whether the Canadian city will move forward.  Sapporo in Japan formally launched interest in bidding last week.

Both Salt Lake City and Calgary hope to leverage existing infrastructure from recent Games to forward low cost and low risk plans to the IOC.  New reforms by the Olympic body have relaxed the bidding rules in favor of sustainability and positive legacies.

About Robert Livingstone

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.