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Business leaders to head Olympic bid fundraising

Published February 29, 2012 4:34 pm

Winter Games • Committee expects first phases of bid to cost up to $2 million.
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A group that includes some of the most influential names in Utah business will take the lead in creating a strategic plan for funding early stages of another Salt Lake City Olympic bid.

The Utah Sports Commission's "Futures and Strategic Planning Committee" has agreed to put together a plan for covering the costs of making a recommendation to Gov. Gary Herbert on whether to proceed with a bid and, assuming the answer is yes, trying to become the U.S. Olympic Committee's nominee for an upcoming Winter Games.

"It's a pretty good group," Sports Commission President and CEO Jeff Robbins told Herbert's Olympic Exploratory Committee on Wednesday, citing a who's who list of names that includes Eccles, Simmons, Sorenson, Garff, Miller, Winder and Layton.

Robbins projected that making a recommendation to Herbert could cost around $30,000, largely for a public opinion survey to verify that Utahns in general support a campaign to stage the Winter Olympics in 2022 or later.

To pursue the USOC's nomination, which would have to be secured early in 2013 to compete internationally for the 2022 Games, probably would cost $1 million to $2 million, Robbins added.

American bids for future Olympics are on hold until the USOC and the International Olympic Committee resolve a dispute over the distribution of broadcast and sponsorship rights.

Whether that issue will be settled in time for a 2022 bid remains uncertain. Fraser Bullock, the former Salt Lake Organizing Committee executive for the 2002 Games who is part of the USOC's negotiating team and an adviser to the Olympic Exploratory Committee, declined to comment Wednesday on the status of those talks.

Either way, Herbert has asked for a recommendation in May.

Exploratory Committee discussions Wednesday indicated that might take the form of a written report with six sections. Those would deal with community, government and business support; venues; budget; transportation; competitors in the U.S. and around the world; and the development of a strategic message about why Salt Lake City would be a good place for the Games.

Bullock and Kelly Flint, who was one of SLOC's lead attorneys last go-round and was added recently to Herbert's committee, said the IOC is quite interested in answers to the "why" question. These days, they added, the answers require an emphasis on putting on Games that are carbon neutral, geographically compact and use sustainable venues. —

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O Information about Olympic Exploratory Committee meetings and opportunities for public input is available on the Utah Sports Commission website. > http://tinyurl.com/82uwqkc