Q&A with Gary Herbert
The governor of Utah on helping to market the state to event organizers and the efforts to build upon the legacy of having hosted the Olympic Winter Games
You might say Gary Herbert’s leadership career began in high school, where he was captain of his baseball and basketball teams and quarterback of the football team. Now, as governor of Utah since 2009, Herbert is one of the leaders of the state’s effort to capitalize on the legacy of having hosted the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and its desire to attract sporting events year-round. The former county commissioner and lieutenant governor is also a strong supporter of tourism and travel, recently creating the nation’s first state outdoor recreation department and making stops in places such as Denver and New York to promote the state’s outdoor recreation and sports-event industries.
In this interview with SportsTravel’s Jason Gewirtz, Herbert discusses Utah’s efforts to attract events, his approach to tourism and his talent on the tennis court.
What role do sports events and the sports industry play in Utah’s economy?
Sports events and the sports industry play a major role in Utah’s economy and generate close to $6 billion annually. Sporting events also provide between $30 million and $40 million per year in TV and related media value and exposure to Utah, which helps us shape our image and position the Utah brand globally. Sports are clearly a significant contributor to Utah’s economy and image. Sports in Utah increase tax revenue, bolster job creation and position us as a major sports business and tourism destination around the world. The Utah Sports Commission has had a return on its investment of almost $6 for every $1 it has received and invested in sports events, sports development and major initiatives. These investments are part of our ongoing Olympic legacy efforts.
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