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New Olympic bid could cost $10 million

Published: Thursday, Feb. 16 2012 3:40 p.m. MST

Co-chair Lt. Gov. Greg Bell, left, listen to Co-chair Mayor Ralph Becker during the first meeting of the Olympic Exploratory Committee in Salt Lake City, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Bidding for another Winter Games will likely cost in excess of $10 million, members of the new Olympic Exploratory Committee were told at their first meeting Thursday.

The price tag is going to be "a big number," warned Fraser Bullock, the former chief operating officer of the organization that put together the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

Bullock said any costs associated with the exploratory committee created by Gov. Gary Herbert to consider another bid will likely be minimal because of the expertise available from hosting the 2002 Games.

The expense comes in if the city decides to bid for another Winter Games, likely in 2022. "The money should go towards the bid phase," Bullock said, noting Chicago spent $78 million unsuccessfully vying for the 2016 Summer Games.

Salt Lake's previous Olympic bids were privately funded, but the state did spend $59 million building sports facilities to become the U.S. choice for the 1998 and 2002 Games. That money was repaid to taxpayers from 2002 profits.

Lane Beattie, head of the Salt Lake Chamber, said the committee should consider asking lawmakers for $100,000 to $200,000 now with some of that money going to jump-start a bid.

But Herbert's chief of staff, Derek Miller, said the exploratory effort shouldn’t be spending much. "If it's going to cost $10 million to bid, let's save every penny to do that," Miller said.

Jeff Robbins, the director of the Utah Sports Commission, said a private donor has already contributed $10,000 toward consideration of another bid. He said an upcoming sports event could be used as a fundraiser.

The committee took no action on the financial issues.

The exploratory committee was announced last week by the governor, on the 10th anniversary of the start of the 2002 Winter Games. Herbert gave them up to four months to recommend whether another Olympic bid should be pursued

There are a number of other cities already interested in a 2022 bid, including Denver and the Reno-Tahoe area in the United States, St. Moritz in Switzerland, and the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine.

E-mail: lisa@desnews.com, Twitter: dnewspolitics

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