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Friday, June 14, 2024

Salt Lake City’s $4B Olympics Price Tag Could Be a Bargain: Here’s Why

  • Utah officials have proposed a budget for the 2034 Games.
  • The IOC will likely award new hosts during the Paris Olympics.
Daniel Raunig/Gepa via USA TODAY Sports

Salt Lake City hasn’t officially been named the host of the 2034 Winter Olympics, but organizers in Utah are already getting their finances in order. A privately funded budget of $3.99 billion has been proposed to the International Olympic Committee, which could make a final decision on some future Games hosts during meetings at the Paris Olympics next month. Salt Lake City is the preferred bidder for ’34.

Winter Olympics are typically cheaper than the Summer Games, but that total cost of nearly $4 billion is still significantly lower than the projected $6.9 billion price tag for the other upcoming Olympics in the U.S., the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles. Those will also be privately funded. The final budget for the Paris Games this summer hasn’t been set, but they will cost at least $9 billion. Taxpayers in France could be on the hook for more than $5 billion of those funds.

If Utah does get the 2034 Olympics and doesn’t go over budget, it would come in at a fraction of some recent editions: The Tokyo Games, delayed by one year to ’21, cost $15.4 billion, just a few years after organizers of the ’18 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang spent $12.9 billion.

Everything in Place

A key selling point of Salt Lake City Olympic planners is that no new permanent venues will need to be built ahead of the 2034 Games. Still, there could be 40% more events for Utah’s next Olympics than were held in ’02 (above). Tokyo spent $1.43 billion on its flagship stadium and another $520 million on an aquatics center. In ’18, South Korea spent about $110 million on a temporary stadium that was demolished after the closing ceremony.

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