Park City expected to suffer economic hurt without the big-spending Sundance crowds |

Park City expected to suffer economic hurt without the big-spending Sundance crowds

Banners for the 2021 Sundance Film Festival are displayed on Main Street on Monday, Jan. 4.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

The impact on the Park City-area economy of the loss of the Sundance Film Festival as an in-person event in 2021 is expected to soar past $100 million, with the hurt spreading through key sectors.

A Sundance-commissioned report detailing the economics of the 2020 festival, drafted by the firm Y2 Analytics, showed the event contributed $167.5 million to the gross domestic product of Utah.

The attendance hit 116,800, with 38% of the people at Sundance traveling from outside of Utah. The people from elsewhere account for much of the economic impact since they are more likely to stay in hotels or other accommodations, eat in restaurants and push up other spending categories.

The report found the spending during Sundance in 2020, including monies spent by people from Utah and those from elsewhere, totaled a little more than $150.4 million. The people from outside of Utah spent $605 each day, the research showed.

The spending in 2020 included:

• $63.4 million on lodging

• $29.9 million on recreation and entertainment

• $28.8 million on meals

• $13.8 million on unspecified transportation expenses, such as on taxis and shuttles

• $8.3 million on unspecified expenses

• $6.3 million on car rentals

People from outside of Utah spent significantly more in each of the categories than those who live inside the state.

The numbers represent the statewide totals, but a significant majority of the spending during Sundance is understood to occur in Park City and surrounding Summit County.

Businesses across the sectors for months were expecting the numbers during Sundance would drop sharply from a typical year. There was hope Park City could attract skiers and snowboarders during the Sundance time period, which could have at least somewhat blunted the economic hit. Any increase on the slopes during the period of the festival, however, was not expected to push the economic numbers in 2021 toward those of a normal Sundance.

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