OLYMPIC UTAH

An Olympic legacy brings year-round sporting events to Utah

Apr 14, 2024, 12:22 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — Saturday wrapped an inspection by Olympic organizers, gauging Utah’s readiness to host the 2034 Winter Olympics. In the same week, the state learned a National Hockey League team is likely coming to Utah.

There is a connection.

After the 2002 Olympics, the world knew Utah only as a winter sports state. The legacy of 2002 put Utah on the map and allowed the state to show its world-class sports capabilities, and eventually, it wasn’t just winter sports at play.

“The economic impact has been amazing,” said Jeff Robbins, CEO of Utah Sports Commission.

He estimates Utah has hosted over 1,000 summer sporting events since the Olympics, and many with the revenue and exposure to pack a large punch:

  • UFC fight in 2023 with a sell-out crowd; $1 billion in media value globally
  • USA Girls Volleyball qualifiers 2024; attracted 20,000 fans and $16 million
  • NBA All-Star Game 2023; generated an estimated $250 million

“You really can do things in all seasons. Almost all of the sports that are in the Olympics, summer and winter, which is probably pretty unique for a state to do,” Robbins said.

The Utah Sports Commission developed a “state of sport” strategy to build on Utah’s 2002 legacy. The strategy is to lead planned efforts to not only keep Olympic venues operational but to attract new sports and events:

  • USA Climbing is now headquartered in Utah and staging events in the state
  • Utah hosts the world’s largest mountain bike event, The Red Bull Rampage
  • The Iron Man World Championships are staged in St. George
  • Utah’s newest venue, an Olympic-sized skate park, attracted attention from sports legend Tony Hawk

Members of the International Olympic Committee’s Future Host Commission toured Utah’s proposed Olympic venues this week. It is one of the final hurdles before the committee officially recommends the host for the 2034 games, of which Utah is the only hopeful candidate.

During the IOC’s visit, the Arizona Coyotes general manager, Bill Armstrong, told his players the hockey team is likely coming to Utah next year. He informed players the team would likely be sold to Utah Jazz owners Ryan and Ashley Smith the following season.

Other surfacing discussions hope to bring Major League Baseball to Utah, and it appears the sports world has taken notice.

“If you’re looking from the outside of the state, you’d say, ‘Wow, if there’s something I can’t find that I like about Utah …’ Maybe they’re not looking hard enough, right?” Robbins joked.

Next up, Robbins said, the Utah Sports Commission is working to bring professional pickleball to Utah with some of the top players in the world.

KSL 5 TV Live

Olympic Utah

IZU, JAPAN - JULY 27: Haley Batten of Team United States rides during the Women's Cross-country rac...

Alex Cabrero

Park City mountain biker training to compete in her second Olympics

Haley Batten who is on the USA Cycling team, competed in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Now, she's training for Paris.

2 days ago

a student dances in a studio...

Alex Cabrero

Get In The Games: ‘Breaking’ Olympic sport has a home in Utah

Once called break dancing, "breaking" is now an Olympic sport, with a place to learn in Utah.

3 days ago

Délice French Bakery and Café is getting ready for the 2024 Olympics in Paris, Italy, the home co...

Shelby Lofton

French bakery in Utah ramping up for Paris 2024 Summer Olympics

The owner of Délice French Bakery and Café in Salt Lake City is preparing for the Olympics in his home country.

1 month ago

Indian Hills Middle School's Amy Shaw, showing her class her collection of pins from the 2002 Winte...

Shara Park

Utah teacher inspires students with her passion for the 2002 Winter Olympics

An Indian Hills Middle School teacher hopes her love for the Olympic Games will inspire her students to get excited about a possible 2034 return.

1 month ago

Karl Stoss, Future Host Commission for the Olympic Winter Games chair, and Christophe Dubi, Olympic...

Bridger Beal-Cvetko, KSL.com

Olympic officials see ‘night and day’ difference in Salt Lake City since 2002 Games

Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi said there's a "night and day" difference in Salt Lake City since the 2002 Games at a panel with Olympic officials and local leaders.

1 month ago

State leaders reacted to the International Olympic Committee announcing Salt Lake City as a preferr...

HANNAH SCHOENBAUM Associated Press

Soon to be a 2-time Olympic host city, Salt Lake City’s zest for the Games is now an outlier

That enduring enthusiasm will be on full display Wednesday when members of the International Olympic Committee descend on northern Utah for their final site visits ahead of a formal announcement expected this July to name Salt Lake City the host for 2034.

1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

An Olympic legacy brings year-round sporting events to Utah