Calgary’s potential 2026 Winter Olympic Games bid avoided being relegated to the dust bin Wednesday as city council voted to keep the process moving forward.
That means administrators will work with the city solicitor to move the bid from the exploration phase to the invitation phase and spend the next month looking at what funding will be required.
An earlier report by the Calgary Bid Exploration Committee pegged the cost at $4.6 billion, which would be offset by $2.2 billion in revenue from ticket sales, corporate sponsorships and direct contributions from the International Olympic Committee.
The remaining $2.4 billion would need to be made up from other sources.
An administration report presented to council this week outlined five principles for bidding on the Games, which include:
Capital costs be shared between the municipal, provincial and federal governments.
Security costs be covered by other orders of government, “given the international nature of the event.”
Canadian taxpayers should not contribute directly to operating costs — instead, those should be covered by ticket sales, sponsorship, broadcast rights, International Olympic Committee contributions, and other earned revenues.
Because the city has limited debt capacity, there must be a financial structure which accommodates the cash flow and debt-level constraints of the city.
If the IOC requires financial guarantees, that they be provided by an entity other than the city or be deemed to be at an acceptable level for the city.
“This vote very much reflects what Calgarians have told us, which is that it would be a great thing to host the Olympics but it has to be right for Calgary,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
“What council decided today was, pencils down for a little while, let’s analyze the deal L.A. has received [for the 2028 Summer Olympics] with the [International Olympic Committee], let’s think about what might make sense for Calgary, let’s refine some numbers,” said Nenshi.
“But really, it’s a matter of waiting until the IOC has a sense of what their host city contract for the Winter [Olympics] will look like and that probably won’t be until next spring.”
Joint bid with Edmonton may be explored
The city of Los Angeles announced its agreement with the IOC to host the 2028 Summer Olympics earlier this week, which will see the IOC advance funds to the L.A. organizing committee to recognize the extended planning period and to increase youth…