Economic Impact of Special Olympics in Seattle and the USA

By July 2, 2018Blog
Special Olympics

Written By:  Maurice Ondoy Project Contributor at AngelouEconomics | Did you realize the Economic Impact of the special olympics in Seattle?

Sports have gone a long way in creating not just an opportunity for talented people to shine.  Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world, empowering people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to nearly 5 million athletes in 170 countries. Special Olympics is held every four years. Image Source:

Economic Impact of Special Olympics

The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games CEO Beth Knox, said “These Games are expected to be the most significant sporting event to come to Seattle since the 1990 Goodwill Games and in addition to hosting a world-class sporting event, we hope to leave a legacy of increased awareness and support for Special Olympics here in Washington long after the Games are over.”

Seattle is giving the Special Olympics $30,000 as an official sponsor of the event.  $15,000 of the sponsorship will come from the council and another $15,000 will come from the office of the mayor.

Given the investment, what are the economic impacts of Special Olympics? What will Seattle benefit economically from hosting this special event? Below are the estimated economic impacts that the event would bring in to the local economy:

  • The Special Olympics will run from July 1 to July 6, 2018 and will be held in eight venues including the University of Washington, Seattle University, Seattle Pacific University, King County Aquatic Center, Willows Run Golf Club, Celebration Park, Angle Lake and Kenmore Lanes
  • It is the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics.
  • Approximately 3,000 – 4,000 athletes will be joining the event and will be supported by 1,000 coaches
  • An estimated 10,000 volunteers will attend
  • 10,000 family and friends will join the athletes to cheer them on while taking in the sites and attractions of the Greater Seattle region.
  • Over 70,000 fans and spectators over the week
  • 14 sport competitions will be enjoyed, including athletics, basketball, bocce, bowling, flag football, golf, gymnastics, powerlifting, soccer, softball, standup paddleboard, swimming, tennis and volleyball
  • An estimated $76 million in total economic impact is expected
  • An estimated 10,200 jobs will be generated
  • Approximately 500,000 ESPN viewers

Lastly, The USA Games provide corporate partners and individual donors an opportunity to invest in a world-class event, and allow employees and the community to embrace Special Olympics – creating a more inclusive Seattle and nation. Participation in the 2018 USA Games is provided at no charge to the athletes. All expenses will be covered by an estimated $15 million raised by the Games Organizing Committee. Competitions are free to attend and open to the public.

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