Salt Lake City Olympic bid reveals $2.2 billion Winter Games budget

Salt Lake City’s bid to host the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in either 2030 or 2034 Monday announced a projected organizing budget of USD $2.2 billion.

Rice-Eccles Stadium and 2002 Olympic Cauldron in Salt Lake City
Rice-Eccles Stadium and 2002 Olympic Cauldron in Salt Lake City. SLC 2002 generated an operational surplus of over USD $50 million.

The new numbers were revealed following Strategic Board and Governing Board meetings of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games (SLC-UT) held at Rice-Eccles Stadium – site of the 2002 Winter Olympics opening ceremony.

Calculated with 24 percent inflated 2030 dollars, SLC-UT estimates operational costs would amount to $1.75 billion and a $200 million contingency will protect against over runs.  An additional $250 million surplus would be earmarked for legacy projects to perpetuate sport in Utah.  These costs would be fully offset by revenues expected from broadcast contracts, sponsorships and sales of tickets and merchandise.

The legacy funds would be “primarily directed to the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation and Utah Sports Commission to run our venues as well or better than they have ever been run before, to continue to host events,” SLC-UT President Fraser Bullock said.

“We are the State of Sport and that [legacy] would ensure we continue to a higher level to become a winter sports capital of the world.”

Capital costs, such as investments in facilities or infrastructure, have not been included in the budget – but the Games are expected to leverage existing venues including those built to host the 2002 Olympics.  New International Olympic Committee (IOC) reforms now discourage hosts from Games-specific construction projects.

SLC-UT has already raised USD $1.75 million towards a goal of $2.8 million it says it needs to fully prepare a bid for the IOC.  Of the total amount, $300,000 had already been spent and there is a $1 million contingency.  The bid committee is utilizing volunteers where possible.

Bullock said the team is working with the governing board on a ‘vision’ for the Games, and an appropriate message for the IOC.

“It’s really about ‘why do we want to host the Games again and what are we trying to accomplish?’,” Bullock said.

Other interested bidders have emerged from Sapporo in Japan, Barcelona in Spain and Ukraine.

On Friday four First Nations in Canada’s British Columbia announced that they are exploring a possible Vancouver 2030 Games that would be the first-ever indigenous-led Olympic bid.

“We see great cities that are out there,” Bullock told on a media call.

“Any time a city puts their foot forward to be a potential host I cheer them on.  I think its great.

“The Olympic movement needs this continued worldwide support so I cheer them on but then I say ‘we just got to work a little bit harder’ because they have a compelling bid and we believe we will have our shot.”

The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) has yet to decide whether they’ll seek to host the Games in 2030 or 2034.  SLC-UT prefers the earlier date in order to better utilize its existing facilities but with Los Angeles set to host the 20208 Summer Games, it is feared that hosting the two events 18 months apart will spread the available revenue streams thin.

Bullock said that with the USOPC they are working closely with LA 28 and “we have made great progress but we have more to go.”

“It is not just convincing the IOC, but making sure all of us are absolutely convinced that back-to-back Games would not only be successful but would thrive.”

A host year decision is expected sometime in the first half of next year after the Beijing 2022 Winter Games where SLC-UT will be sending a small delegation as part of an official observer program.

The IOC has no set timetable for the selection of a future Games host.  Through continuous dialogue with interested bidders, the IOC’s Future Host Commission will single out a preferred candidate once the right partner is found.

Milan-Cortina in Italy will host the 2026 Winter Olympics.

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.

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