Utahns can count on pocketing an average of $400 in extra income if Salt Lake City is selected as the site of the 1998 Winter Games. That figure would be their share of an estimated $1.4 billion in economic benefits.
That's according to a new state study released to the Utah Sports Authority Tuesday, which concludes "most Utahns will benefit economically directly or indirectly as a result of Olympic spending."If the International Olympic Committee decides next June that the 1998 Winter Games should be held in Salt Lake City, the state soon will be selling everything from television rights to souvenirs.
Money also will have to be spent to ready the Wasatch Front for the Winter Games, including millions of dollars for ski jumps, skating rinks and other venues.
The state Office of Planning and Budget analysis of the economic impact of hosting the Olympics calculates the total increase in the personal income of all Utahns at about $743 million.
The increase breaks down to an average increase in income of $400 for every Utahn and an average increase in income of $1,150 for every Utah household. The analysis, however, does carry a disclaimer.
"Obviously, not every person or household will experience these increases. Some will receive more, some less, and still others will receive none," the analysis states.
The analysis also projects the Winter Games will result in 19,600 new jobs, many temporary positions in the service industry and an additional $112.7 million in state and local tax revenues.
State demographic and economic analysis director Brad Barber said he was careful not to overstate what Utahns should expect if Salt Lake City hosts the 1998 Winter Games.
"We attempted to be conservative as we are not attempting to sell or justify the Olympics with impacts that are not plausible or reasonable," Barber told the Sports Authority.
The numbers have gone up since the previous economic analysis, which was done by the state in August 1989. Then, state officials forecast a $925 million economic impact.
Most of the $500 million increase is a result of the latest budget proposal for the Winter Games. At $749 million, it's nearly twice as much as Utah Olympic supporters proposed spending in 1989.
Barber said after his presentation that his calculations are only as good as the revenue and expense projections made by the Salt Lake Bid Committee for the Olympic Winter Games.
"It's based on the Olympics budget. If those numbers are wrong, then these numbers are wrong," he said. Both the budget and the economic analysis are expected to be updated again and again if Salt Lake City gets the Winter Games.
Although the overall economic impact of holding the 1998 Winter Games in Utah is estimated at $1.46 billion, the actual amount of money that would be generated in the state should be about $706 million.
That's because not all of the money spent on the Winter Games will be spent in Utah. For example, an estimated $60 million in production costs associated with broadcasting the Olympics is expected to be spent out-of-state.
Also, the Sports Authority is committed to repaying the $56 million in sales taxes being collected to pay for winter sports facilities that will be used for Olympic events.
Other adjustments made by Barber to the estimated total economic impact of the Winter Games, totaling more than $316 million, include a projected surplus that Olympic supporters hope to use to promote amateur athletics.