Republican primary debate in March will put national spotlight on Salt Lake City

Posted at 9:22 PM, Feb 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-22 09:43:19-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- In one month, Utah will be hosting the state’s first ever presidential primary debate, which means the Beehive State will be the center of attention for at least one night.

“Well this is going to be one of the biggest events to happen in Utah probably since the Olympics when you look at the publicity that will be coming to the city,” said Val Hale, Executive Director for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

Hale said hosting a presidential primary debate won’t bring 100,000 people to town like other events. However, its significance goes beyond the number of attendees.

“This won’t bring as many people like an event like Comic Con, but it will certainly have a brighter spotlight on the stage nationally and internationally,” Hale said.

Hale said it’s like one giant, free television ad that you know people will be watching.

“Well Utah has a great story to tell, and this is going to allow us to tell that story through commentators, through others who are going to be here talking about the state,” Hale said.

Whether it’s Vivint Smart Home Arena, one of the hotels, or the University of Utah, the location of the debate is going to be the real winner when the candidates take the stage.

“Where ever it is, it’s going to be a great windfall for that venue and there’s going to be a lot of talk about it,” Hale said.

The location of the debate and the network that will be broadcasting it will be determined by the Republican National Committee at some point in the near future.