Sundance Film Festival Brings $70 Million to Utah

Professional real estate manby Joel Carson
President/Principal Broker
Utah Real Estate
SLBR 2012 ‘Salesperson of the Year’

Photograph from PostModem of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival
PostModem, Sundance Film Festival, directed by Jillian Mayer, Lucas Levya. Photo by Daniel Fernandez.

Sometimes I take for granted the mind-boggling amount of premier events that help feed Utah’s economy. It’s easy to do. Utah has always been home to creative, forward-thinking residents who plan ahead and constantly enrich the quality of life here. Sound like I’m laying it on a little too thick? This morning I read a report about the amount of money, jobs and positive exposure Utah nets from the Sundance Institute’s Sundance Film Festival and I just had to sit back for a moment and reflect.

In January 2013 the Sundance Film Festival was a 10-day event. It took place in Northern Utah – Park City, Salt Lake City and Ogden. It’s nice to have a little celebration of fine arts and filmmaking, right? Now consider the fact that the festival generated an overall economic impact of nearly $70 million for the state of Utah.

“$70 million?” you say.

“Yes, $70 million.”

The figure didn’t come from a public relations specialist looking to paint a rosy picture. Nope. The numbers came from an independent annual economic and demographic study conducted by the University of Utah’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the David Eccles School of Business (BEBR).

Now, if you own a Utah home or live in a Park City condo or kickback in a Sundance resort home from time to time, I’m sure you can appreciate the impact this kind of contribution has on a community, a state and even an entire region.

Let me help you out. According to the report the festival organized and executed by the Sundance Institute:

  • Supported 1,407 jobs
  • Generated $56.8 million in international media exposure
  • Netted $5.8 million in tax revenue
  • Brought 46,000 people to Utah

If you consider the fact that more than 65 percent of festival attendees came from outside of Utah, including nearly 4,000 visitors from international locations, the impact seems even more significant. The really great news about visitors is that they bring their money to Utah, they spend it and then they go home. There is minimal impact on our infrastructure and so fewer dollars have to be invested than would be if these were all permanent residents.

Luckily, some people do become permanent residents and there are a host of benefits from those buying Utah homes for sale and contributing to our local communities in multiple ways.

More than the money it generates, the Sundance Film Festival is just one of a multitude of fine arts opportunities our residents can enjoy. It opens our minds and exposes our residents to other cultures. We make new friends from around the world and casts a soft warm glow on Utah in media markets from print to electronic.

Here are a few more staggering numbers for you. According to the independent report, over the last five years, Sundance Film Festival has brought in:

  • more than $375.6 million dollars in economic activity
  • $21.9 million dollars in tax revenue
  • supported more than 8,224 jobs
  • more than 219,987 festival attendees

Over the last ten years the Sundance Film Festival has generated more than one-half billion dollars in economic activity for Utah.

This is a simple way of looking at the impact. It is far more reaching that it appears on the surface. Consider the impact on businesses benefiting from world-wide exposure. Think of the people who worked when work was a little hard to come by. Just sit back for a minute and imagine all this creative event brings to your own Utah home.

I’m proud of Utah and I’m grateful to the Sundance Institute for its contributions to our residents’ quality of life. I’m grateful I have made Utah my home and want to invite you to become our neighbor. Visit for multiple home listings throughout Utah. Call me at 801-673-3333 for a private showing of any homes you love.

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