2018 USA Games Economic Impact

There will be many obvious and tangible benefits to the Seattle region when the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games are held next summer including an economic impact that should easily exceed $76 million.

“It will have a wonderful economic impact on the city,” said Visit Seattle President and CEO and USA Games board member Tom Norwalk. “I think it will be one of the best events in that regard that Seattle has ever hosted.”

Special Olympics estimated that the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games brought an estimated 80,000 people to New Jersey with an economic impact that was tabbed at approximately $50 million. The 2010 Special Olympics USA Games in Lincoln, Nebraska produced an economic impact of $40 million dollars, according to the University of Nebraska while bringing approximately 60,000 people to the area.

It is reasonable to assume both of those numbers will be higher for Seattle as the Games continue to grow in popularity. At least 4,000 athletes and coaches will participate in the Games. They will be joined by family and friends who will travel to Seattle to be part of the action and fun.

It’s important to note that the economic impact on the region will not be affected in any way by the building of new facilities for the 2018 USA Games. Competitions in 14 sports will be conducted in Seattle, scattered across the region in state of the art facilities that already exist like Husky Stadium at the University of Washington, the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Championship Field at Seattle University, and the Falcon Gymnastics Center at Seattle Pacific University.

Fellow board member Howard S. Wright III, who is the CEO of the Seattle Hospitality Group, is looking forward to rolling out the red carpet for visitors. “My company is pretty deeply woven into the experience of coming to the Puget Sound,” he said. “We want to give these athletes and their families a fantastic experience.”

Beyond the economic bonuses for the region, the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games will also provide a wealth of ‘feel-good’ moments for spectators and a chance for Seattle to show visitors that the city’s commitment to being a “City of Inclusion” is rock solid. “This is an honor for our region to be able to host this event,” Wright said. “This is an opportunity for Seattle to really shine.”