Breaking even not good enough for future Salt Lake City Olympics
An inaugural meeting of Salt Lake City’s Olympic Exploratory Committee concluded yesterday with Fraser Bullock, the committee’s co-chairman (and formerly the chief operating officer for the 2002 winter Olympic Games in the city) saying that a future games that only broke even would not be good enough.
He told the Salt Lake Tribune: “Nobody around this table wants anything to do with a games that doesn’t have a surplus… If we can’t get there, we shouldn’t do it. We don’t want to just break even.”
Bullock has estimated that hosting the games could cost about $1.5 billion, not including federal security costs, but wants to reduce that figure to about $1.2 billion.
He said: “We’ve got to watch every penny… We don’t want to just host the games. We want to have a surplus to help the sports movement here, the Olympic movement.”
However, he expressed concern that competition with organisers of the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles could reduce potential sponsorship revenue by as much as $500 million.
The committee plans to complete its deliberations by the end of February, ahead of a deadline of 31 March, 2018 to enter the IOC’s so-called dialogue phase.
Last month, Republican Party legislative leaders in Salt Lake City said that the state of Utah would be able to find an extra $39 million needed to bring infrastructure created for the 2002 games up to modern standards for a future games.
They were speaking after an audit recommended that taxpayer-funded options should be explored for raising the money because the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, which was created to oversee the venues, already loses about $4 million a year from operating the facilities.
The announcement followed news that politicians in Utah and Salt Lake City had formed an exploratory committee to consider a pitch for the 2026 or 2030 winter Olympics.
Earlier, Larry Probst, the US Olympic Committee chairman, said that it would “ideally” prefer to pursue a bid to host the winter Olympics in 2030, not in 2026, to avoid “confusion with the preparations for 2028.”
However, Bullock said: “Even if we were focused mostly on 2030, we have to be in the process for ’26 in case there is a dual award.”
As well as Salt Lake City, Denver (Colorado) and Reno (Nevada) are both considered potential US candidates for a future winter Olympics in USA.
Other possible bidders for the 2026 games include Sion in Switzerland, the Telemark region in Norway, Calgary in Canada, cities in Turkey and Kazakhstan, Stockholm in Sweden and Sapporo in Japan.