The official 2034 Olympics budget is out. Here’s how it impacts Utah taxpayers.

Organizers unveil bigger budget than previously anticipated but still promise no state or local public spending.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) An Olympic-wrapped UTA TRAX light rail train arrives at the Arena Station next to the Delta Center in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, April 10, 2024.

When the group steering the effort to bring an Olympics back to Utah said it could do it without tapping into any state or local public funding, it might have felt like a sleight of hand.

On Monday, though, the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games laid its cards on the table.

The committee revealed it estimates it will cost about $4 billion total to host the 2034 Winter Games, which are expected to be awarded to Utah by the International Olympic Committee on July 24. Within that is an operating budget of $2.83 billion, a slight increase over the $2.45 billion estimate that cropped up late last year in an IOC feasibility study. Rather than make excuses for the increases, though, the local organizing committee spelled out its plans for paying for them.

Nearly half of the funds, or about $1.8 billion, will come from domestic sponsorships. The group is hoping to recoup another $1.19 billion from ticket sales and hospitality opportunities. Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee is expected to contribute $751 million to the funding of the Games.

No state or local taxpayer money has been swept into the budget. Federal money will pay for security, as was the case when Utah first hosted the Olympics in 2002.

“A cornerstone of our financial plan is that we will raise our entire Games operating budget from commercial and private sources,” Fraser Bullock, the SLC-UT 2034 president and CEO said in a statement, “with no use of state or local taxpayer dollars.”

Both the total budget and the operations budgets are on par with the 2002 Games when adjusted for inflation, Bullock said.

Beyond the operating expenses, according to a news release, local organizers for 2034 plan to spend $1.16 billion on “revenue sharing with the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, sponsorship fulfillment, sales costs, and legacy funding.”

Following the blueprint from the 2002 Games, local organizers hope to reinvest $260 million to support Utah community sports programs upon the conclusion of the 2034 Olympics. Some of that will go to the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, which received about $76 million following the 2002 Games. That provided for the upkeep of Olympic venues and prevented the current group from having to build any new permanent venues ahead of the 2034 Games.

“The legacy from the 2002 Winter Games was transformative in promoting sport across our state,” Bullock said in a statement. “Our initiative to return the Games to Utah is rooted in extending that living legacy that our communities enjoy today well into the future.”

The $2.83 billion operations budget encompasses all the costs of actually putting on the event. That includes transportation and housing for nearly 3,000 athletes as well as coaches, judges and other officials. It also comprises event setup and takedown, concerts, technology and numerous other expenses.

Even without having to build any new venues, the operating budget for the 2034 Games stands to be nearly identical to that of 2002 when adjusted for inflation. The explanations for that are multifold, Bullock said at a news conference Monday.

He explained that many of the venues built for 2002 were constructed as private-public partnerships, which lowered the organizing committee’s costs. The committee also didn’t have to pay rent to use those buildings, and it now does. Plus, the 2034 Olympics are expected to feature 116 events compared to 78 in 2002. While many of those are variations of established events — such as dual moguls, which will debut at the 2026 Milano Cortina Olympics in Italy — they increase the use, or “activation,” of venues during the 16 days of the Games. Tentative dates for Salt Lake City’s Olympics are Feb. 10-25, 2034, with the Paralympics slated for March 10-19.

“With 40% more events, even though you use the same venues, it’s a lot of temporary infrastructure that’s expanded. The needs are expanded,” Bullock said. “For example, in Park City, we were on every other day in terms of Deer Valley and Park City [Mountain]. Now we’re going to be on every day. And so we’re going to be much busier at our venue communities. So, we have to have a significant additional expense to cover that.”

The budget rises above $4 billion if Salt Lake City has to tap into a $210 million contingency fund it has established in case of unexpected expenses or overruns.

Still, compared to recent Winter Games, Utah will be hosting on a shoestring. The 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, holds the record for the most expensive Olympics with an estimated cost of between $52-60 billion. The most recent Olympics in Beijing cost $38.5 billion.

The state of Utah will be on the hook if organizers somehow fall short in their fundraising and revenue gathering. The state will be the “ultimate financial guarantor” according to responses the local committee submitted to an IOC questionnaire earlier this year. Still, organizers said they are “committed to vigorously managing the budget to avoid the need for the State of Utah to cover any shortfall.”

Leaning on his experience with helping organize the 2002 Olympics months after the 9/11 attacks, Bullock said early in the local committee’s organization he expected to again insure a Utah Olympic Games against cancellation. That has proven to be more difficult this time around with apparently no policies available, according to questionnaire responses. However, the group has set aside $50 million — more than 10 times what it paid in 2002 — “in the event the insurance market reactivates.”

This week the IOC’s Future Host Commission will give its recommendations for the hosts of the 2030 and 2034 Winter Olympics to the executive board. It is expected to give affirmative nods both to Salt Lake City for 2034 and France for 2030.

Correction: June 10, 9:49 a.m. • This article has been updated to correct the amount of money the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation received in 2002 and the amount it is budgeted to receive after the 2034 Winter Games.