2030 Winter Olympic selection expected next May, but dialogue could start sooner
PARK CITY, Utah — The Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games hosted a strategic board meeting at the Vivint Arena on Thursday where officials said they’ll have a good idea of where things stand with the Winter Olympics efforts within the next six months.
Just a few weeks after the International Olympic Committee session in Lausanne, Switzerland, the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games met to provide an update on the 2030 bid and the anticipated timeline moving forward. While officials are focused on hosting the Olympics in the next eight years, they admit some challenges with a Games in 2030 could make the 2034 event a possibility.
“This is the intense part of the bid process. We’ve been extremely well prepared, we’ve done so much work in advance that we feel very comfortable today,” said Fraser Bullock, the president and CEO of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games, during the meeting. “Look at the current bid environment, beginning with our focus, we’re focused on 2030. When we look at our bid process, when we look at our proposal, we think we have a very, very strong bid proposal. We think that we have the best technical bid in the world, of any potential Winter Games, and you all know the reasons why.”
In addition to Salt Lake City, other cities like, Vancouver, Canada; Sapporo, Japan; and Barcelona, Spain — which Bullock said is the furthest behind — have shown interest in hosting a Winter Olympics. The 2028 Summer Olympics are scheduled to take place in Los Angeles.
“There are other really good candidates … and as we look at the dynamics of the other cities versus us, we recognize that back-to-back Games are challenging,” Bullock said. “Geopolitically it’s hard for the IOC to award back-to-back Games in the U.S. for ’28 and for ’30. We know that that’s hard, but we also recognize there are opportunities through back-to-back Games, through collaboration with two sets of Games.”
Bullock continued, saying the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games is working through those issues to present its case. While focused on 2030, the Utah committee has included provisions for a 2034 Games in all of its bid contracts. So far, agreements for 17,000 hotel rooms have been signed, according to Bullock.
He said the key strengths of the Utah bid are unified support for the Games from politicians and businesses to the public, as well as the fact that all of the state’s athletic facilities used during the 2002 Winter Olympics are still in use. The venues are even better than they were then because of the community’s commitment to the Olympic legacy, Bullock said.
“That is the foundation to any Games,” he said.
The proximity of Salt Lake City and Park City, where some facilities are located, and having one Olympic village are also positives. Bullock said the Winter Olympics are notorious for being spread out. During the 2025 Winter Olympics in Italy, athletes may have to commute up to five hours to reach their destination.
Other strengths mentioned during the meeting were an experienced team helping organize and facilitate the Games as well as the state’s attractive economics, referring to the Utah committee’s balanced budget. The budget for a Games is $2.2 billion in 2030 dollars. It includes a $200 million contingency and a $300 million sports legacy endowment. There are no taxpayer dollars associated with the cost, according to Bullock.
“Fortunately, with us, (the cost) is mitigated because all our venues are in place. We’ve done this before, we know what the pieces are so, for us, we have a high degree of confidence in our budget as well as a lot of room,” he said.
According to an economic impact study performed by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah, there would be a $3.9 billion economic output associated with hosting the Games. It’s nice to have a positive impact economically, Bullock said, but it won’t accelerate growth in Utah long term. However, he did acknowledge the social benefits associated with hosting a future Games.
“As you know, one of the key objectives coming out of hosting the Games is, ‘Why do we do this?’ And we’ve talked several times about the opportunity to welcome the world here not only for the Games but to have our kids be able to train, grow and develop sport on a much broader basis than we do today,” he said. “That’s a big goal that we have.”
The Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games anticipates a busy period over the next 30 days. In mid-June, there will be meetings with the IOC in Lausanne, including conversations with Thomas Bach, the president of the organization, and other leadership. Later this month there will also be Olympic Day celebrations and a United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee and national governing bodies meeting.
Looking at the future bid activities, Bullock said an IOC recommendation for targeted dialogue with a potential host city will be made within the next six months. In that time, the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games’ Host Venue Communities Committee, which includes Park City Mayor Nann Worel and Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, will start a community engagement process.
Worel previously said outreach efforts in the Park City area will begin later this summer. There will be in-person and virtual meetings as well as opportunities for the Spanish-speaking population and the workforce to voice their opinions.
The Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games will also complete its bid file as well as the vision it has for the Winter Olympics. There will also be continuous dialogue with the IOC and related organizations before a final decision is made, likely next May.