Utah economy still benefits from 2002 Winter Olympic Games

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The economic impact of the 2002 Games was remarkable. The official state estimate of economic impact is $4.8 billion in sales, 35,000 job years of employment and $1.5 billion in earnings for Utah workers.

“The true impact of the games transcends the ledger sheet,” said Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber. Beattie served as the state’s chief Olympic officer. “The figures are impressive, but they don’t tell the whole story. Showing the world just how special this place is has had an immeasurable impact.”

Here’s what we can measure. The Olympics yielded $100 million in profits, which were distributed throughout the community after the Games including a $72 million endowment to maintain facilities, $10.2 million for Olympic Legacy Plazas and $11.5 million in charitable donations.

Utah’s tourism industry also saw significant benefits. Utah’s ski and hotel and lodging industries have enjoyed record-setting years since the Games. Utah has seen a 42 percent increase in skier visits since 2002, and direct expenditures from skiers and snowboarders have increased 67 percent from $704 million in 2002-03 to $1.2 billion last year.

Business leaders welcomed 350 venture capitalists and 600 corporate guests to Utah during the Games. The exposure has paid off. Venture capital funding in

2011 reached a five-year high at $222.9 million and 43 deals.

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