COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The U.S. Olympic Committee, as well as Olympic-related organizations and businesses, generated a $215 million economic impact on the Pikes Peak region and employed more than 2,100 people last year, according to a study last week by the USOC.
A 19-page report produced by USOC sponsor Deloitte, a copy of which was obtained by The (Colorado Springs) Gazette, shows 2,158 employees combined for $116 million in earnings and $72.5 million in non-company purchases in Colorado Springs, and 111,000 visitors shelled out $26 million, helping account for $4.9 million in city and local tax receipts.
The USOC, based in the Springs since 1978 and now with a new downtown headquarters on the heels of a 30-year deal with the city, and 22 Springs national governing bodies had 719 staffers who combined for $87 million in salaries and $41 million in local purchases, providing $1.4 million in city and county tax revenue and $1.15 million in property taxes.
Non-NGB organizations connected to the USOC accounted for 242 employees, with $29 million in payroll and $31.5 million in local purchases for $1.6 million in city and county tax revenue, $322,000 in property taxes and $249,000 in lodging and rental car tax. Their visitors, for Springs events, conferences and camps, spent $11 million over 75,000 nights.
Athletes and support staff who visited the Olympic Training Center totaled 13,000, with a combined $15 million in out-of-facility expenditures and $105,000 in lodging and rental car tax from 135,000 nights. The OTC attracted 78,000 visitors over 39,000 nights, with spending at $1.67 million and city and county tax revenue at $55,000.
The study termed the USOC and Olympic-related organizations as "a catalyst for growth" in the Springs sports sector, citing a 16.5 percent increase since 2001, compared to a 4.3 percent climb for the overall labor force that same span. Roughly 9,000 Springs residents work in the sports industry for 90 companies, 50 of which are associated with the USOC.
USOC Chief Executive Officer Scott Blackmun said he's determined on being certain "that we're making a positive impact in every way we can. This study allows us to quantify the positive economic impact that Olympic-related organizations have on the community and is a benchmark for us to use as we look to grow in the future."
Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO Terry Sullivan called the report "great news but hardly surprising."
He added the "intangible benefits" the city lands from its ties to the USOC are "admittedly more difficult to measure, but it's a critical factor in our community's goal to become one of the leading visitor destinations in the country."