You Asked, We Found Out: Is USOC Deal Worth It?

By Josh Simeone J.Simeone@krdo.com

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COLORADO SPRINGS – You asked and now we’re finding out if the U.S. Olympic Committee deal with the city is really worth it.

On Tuesday, city council members voted to approve a new $42 million incentive package to keep the USOC in Colorado Springs for another 30-years.

Since then, many have commented on KRDO.com, asking if the money spent will really end up paying off.

We talked with UCCS economic professor and author Daphne Greenwood about whether or not the deal is really worth it. Greenwood, author of the new book “The Future Of Local Economic Development: Quality of Life and Sustainability” is not on the city’s nor the USOC’s side when it comes to creating and passing the new agreement.

“The deal is a little smaller than from last year, but it’s still an enormous amount of money,” says Greenwood.

We reviewed the deal with Greenwood, discussing the city’s issuing around $30 million in Certificates and Participation, along with other incentives provided to the USOC.

She says studies have shown in the past that incentive packages seldom work for the city that has issued them.

“The studies that have been done across the country show that it’s very unlikely that this could be a profitable deal for the city,” says Greenwood.

Greenwood says she is a fan of the USOC, but understands why so many in the community may be wondering why the city would approve a deal in such tough economic times.

On the other side, the city argues the deal to keep the USOC is worth it, citing a 2008 study from David Bamberger & Associates. The study reveals the economic impact of the USOC and the Olympic sports industry brings in more than $340 million every year. In addition, the Olympic community impacts city and county sales tax revenue by $3.6 million.