It is unknown if the financial blow of the Covid pandemic, which forced the fest to go virtual in 2021 and 2022, impacted this decision.

Sundance’s departure would be devastating for Park City’s economy, and would negatively impact Utah’s economy as well. In 2023, the festival raked in $63 million in wages and $12.8 million in tax revenue. Attendees spent a total of $96 million over the ten-day event, which in turn fattened the state’s gross domestic product to the tune of $118.3 million. The timing is interesting, as the rapidly growing Salt Lake City is about to become home to the National Hockey League’s Arizona Coyotes. The city is also currently in the running for a Major League Baseball expansion franchise. These developments are terrific for Salt Lake City and the state in general, but this will do nothing to fill the void left by the festival in Park City.

The festival is a source of tremendous pride for the resort town. The list of films and filmmakers launched by the event is staggering: Steven Soderbergh’s “sex, lies, and videotape,” Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs,” Michael Moore’s “Roger and Me,” Kevin Smith’s “Clerks” and Alison Anders’ “Gas, Food, and Lodging” are an infinitesimally small sampling of the talent that owe their careers in large part to the festival. And Sundance has lost none of its relevance, as proven by the Grand Jury-winning “CODA” becoming the first festival movie to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

But don’t count Park City out of the running just yet.

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