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Economic impact of swim trials in Omaha reported as $34.5 million

Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 7:28 AM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau has crunched the numbers and found the 2020 Olympic Swim Trials generated $34.5 million in economic impact to the Omaha and Nebraska.

The event was held over two weeks in June 2021 after being delayed a year because of the pandemic.

The 2016 Olympic Swim Trials, which was a sell-out, generated $74 million.

Organizers expected a drop because COVID reduced capacity to the arena by 50%.

“I would say it wasn’t a shock,” said Lindsay Toussant, Director of Operations with the Omaha Sports Commission. “It’s what we were hoping for. Anything like that number during COVID is great for us and the community”

So how does the Omaha Sports Commission and Convention and Visitors Bureau determine something like economic impact?

There’s actually an industry-standard formula.

“It’s a hard question to answer,” said Toussant, “And one to conceptualize because those millions spent are in all types of faucets -- the travel, hotel, car rental, stores, shopping in the Old Market or Midtown.”

It’s not just about where visitors eat, sleep and get around.

The impact came primarily from out-of-state visitors paying for hotel rooms, tickets, meals, attractions, shopping, and other expenses. The first wave, held June 4-7, had an impact of $4.12 million. The second wave, held June 13-20, generated an impact of $30.4 million.

Another report from Universal Information Systems found that the event resulted in an estimated $47 million media value from local coverage, national broadcasts, international stories, and social media.

The Omaha Sports Commission has submitted a proposal to host the 2024 Olympic Swim Trials. If it is chosen over three other finalists, Omaha would host the trials for a fifth consecutive time.

There’s also another Olympic trials on the horizon as Omaha hosts Team USA curling in November at the Baxter Arena.

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