NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Federal Spending On Olympic Games

February 1, 2000

Federal agencies have spent, or plan to spend, a total of $1.4 billion on activities and capital projects related to the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games in 2002, says a preliminary General Accounting Office report. That will bring total federal spending on Olympic Games in three U.S. cities to $2.1 billion.

At least 24 federal organizations provided or planning to provide a total of about $2.1 billion in 1999 dollars for Olympic-related projects and activities for the Los Angeles (1984) and Atlanta (1996) Summer Olympic Games and the planned Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games in 2002.

Unlike the financial outlay for the Los Angeles games, spending on capital infrastructure is a major component of spending in Atlanta and Salt Lake City.

  • For the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, federal funding and support totaled about $75 million, about $68 million of which was for safety- and security-related services.
  • Federal spending for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta totaled about $605 million, of which about $184 million was for activities related to planning and staging the games, including $92 million in safety- and security-related services, and about $421 million was for highway, transit, public housing and other capital projects.
  • Of the estimated $1.4 billion in spending for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, approximately $272 million is for planning and staging the Olympics, and about $1.1 billion is for highway, transit, public housing and other capital projects.

As in Atlanta, some of the planned infrastructure projects are solely related to the Olympics. For example, about $47 million is planned for an Olympic Transportation System to transport people to and from Olympic venues.

Source: "Olympic Games: Preliminary Information on Federal Funding and Support," GAO/GGD-00-44, December 1999, General Accounting Office, Washington, D.C.


Browse more articles on Tax and Spending Issues