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Stuart Johnson, KSL TV

Pre-Olympic events in Utah provide economic impact of near $30 million

By Alex Cabrero | Posted - Jan 15th, 2014 @ 10:36pm


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KEARNS — The Sochi Olympics are now less than a month away, but in Utah, it feels like a sort of mini-Olympics has been ongoing for some time.

Thirteen Olympic-related events, from Team USA trials to World Cup events, have been held here since September. Tens of thousands of fans have been cheering for USA athletes over the past few months.

"The speedskating events were sold out, the ski jumping event was sold out," said Jeff Robbins, president of Utah Sports Commission.

Robbins talked about the success of the Olympic-related events held in Utah in the past three months.

"I don't think there is any place in the world that has done this post-Olympics, certainly not another host of a games like Salt Lake City was," Robbins said.

Events like the Team USA speedskating trials, ski Jumping, skeleton trials and even bobsled runs are among the Olympic sports that have taken place.

"The numbers we have, and we won't know those for a while because there are still some events taking place, but our estimates are about $30 million in economic impact," Robbins said.

And Robbins estimates another $10 million in media value. "As they were sliding down that run, they had our signage, they had the state of Utah, they were promoting the state," Robbins said.

Organizers spent the past two years getting these events to Utah. It seems like Utah's love for the Olympics paid off.

"This has been sort of our mini-Olympics ahead of going to Sochi," Robbins said.

And Utah isn't done. Even though 2013 and the beginning of this year have been great getting sports to Utah, organizers said they're always looking to the future to get more events here.

"It's very strategic," Robbins said of the process. "We're always identifying opportunities we think are a fit, looking at the sources and the team we have around us to maybe go out and get those events."

There's no doubt that sports is a business. And for Utah, that business is good.

"It really goes to our brand of what the state is wanting to be," said Colin Hilton of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation. "We love our Olympics. We love hosting international athletes and events. It's really good for everybody."

Organizers also said the United States Olympic Committee has praised how well the Team USA Trials have gone in Utah, possibly boosting the state's chances to host another Olympics — maybe in 2026 or 2030.

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