(ATR) The chief operational officer of the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics says another bid from the city is more likely for 2030 than 2026.
Fraser Bullock spoke to local media on Dec. 18 following the second meeting of Salt Lake City’s Olympic and Paralympic Exploratory Committee (OEC). Bullock says the city has the tools in place to minimize its projected budget after hosting the Winter Games in 2002.
"We have the venues built," Bullock was quoted as saying. "We can economize in many ways to make that budget work."
While the International Olympic Committee is currently seeking interested cities for the 2026 Winter Olympics, the United States is unlikely to throw a city in the race due to Los Angeles hosting the Summer Games in 2028. Another U.S. Olympic host prior to 2028 could throw a wrench into marketing plans for LA 2028.
"We're leaning more in the 2030 direction," Bullock admitted to media, reaffirming the position taken by U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun and President Larry Probst.
"Yesterday I think we put a stake in the ground and said we are interested in hosting the winter Games," Probst said to the USOC Board of Directors during their meeting in October. "Ideally that's probably 2030 so there's no confusion with preparations for 2028."
During the OEC meeting, Bullock and colleagues covered topics including transportation, economic impact, venues, environment, legal issues and the budget. Bullock is confident the Salt Lake City Olympic budget could be held under $2 billion.
He told the Fox 13 television station the city could host the Games with an approximate budget of $1.5 billion. A large portion of the budget would go to upgrades and renovations to venues used for the 2002 Winter Games.
Salt Lake City will likely compete with Reno-Tahoe and Denver to become the sole U.S. bid for the Games. Each of these cities have shown interest in hosting either in 2026 or 2030 and are beginning to hold their own exploratory talks.
The IOC has established a deadline of March 31 to receive bids for the 2026 Winter Games. However, if there are a lack of bidders and the IOC feels compelled to issue another double award for the 2026 and 2030 Winter Games as it did for the 2024 and 2028 summer editions, the USOC could accelerate its bidding plans to be included in a potential 2030 proposal.
The Salt Lake City OEC will meet again on Jan. 22, 2018 before submitting their report to the Governor’s Office on Feb. 1.
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Written by Kevin Nutley
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