POSTED: June 20th 2017

Olympics: Calgary exploratory committee says $2.4 billion needed for 2026 Games if they bid

The meeting tonight of the City of Calgary Council with Mayor Naheed Nenshi (center)
The meeting tonight of the City of Calgary Council with Mayor Naheed Nenshi (center)

LAURA WALDEN (USA) / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) Today the Calgary Bid Exploration Committee (CBEC) reported to the Calgary City Council their predictions if Calgary were to bid and win the right to host the 2026 winter Games. The CBEC targets overall costs of Canadian $4.6 billion to host the Games, estimated incoming revenue to be $2.2 billion so a net funding of $2.4 billion would be required to stage the Games.

This budget plan would reuse a number of facilities from the 1988 Games that would need upgrades therefore lowering the need for many new facilities.

Rick Hanson, CBEC Chair, said, "I am confident when I say that the Board and staff at CBEC have diligently reviewed all aspects of bidding and hosting a prospective 2026 Games, and the numbers we are sharing today accurately represent the current situation."

Mayor Naheed Nenshi asked for further clarifications from the team and was particularly interested in the point that the CBEC has $425 million cost overruns over operating revenues. There are other costs that will be included such as security, facilities construction and renovation, and Olympic accommodation although the operations budget is the largest single cost driver.

He said, "I've always said I will be persuaded on this particular issue by the evidence, so I just see this as a presentation of a bunch of evidence. Me and council and the public . . . will have to really cogitate over this and chew on some of these numbers and see if this is something we want to do."

Another point is that the IOC has now stated that the start of the bid procedures and guidelines will now be released after PyeongChang 2018 in February so this also makes it hard to plan now without all the information.

The Mayor added, "It means we've got some time to do some thinking here. It would be very difficult for council to make a final decision to move forward without knowing what the IOC host city agreement will be."

Another point is that no bid can go ahead without the financial support of the provincial and federal governments and they have not confirmed that as yet.

CBEC has also included a large cost contingency of $450 million that would include $235 million for operations as well as $135 million for sport programming and in order to ensure long term venue operations after the Games.

Hanson added, "One of the things we identified from looking at some prior Olympic Games was the failure to account for post-Games operation and maintenance of facilities in their budgets. While this adds cost, our Board felt it was a necessary addition to a prospective budget."

The CBEC has taken into account that they expect the IOC to contribute $700 million in cash to the host city and domestic sponsorships should generate $820 million. Then ticket sales from Olympic and Paralympic events are estimated to produce around another $320 million surplus.

Other cities that have been mulling jumpijg into the bid race are Sion, Switzerland, Innsbruck, Austria, Sapporo, Japan and 2022 bidder Almaty, Kazakhstan. Sion lost the 2006 Games to Turin, Italy and has just formed a political support group to work with the various Swiss cantons that would be involved to facilitate a plan. They were confirmed as a candidate in April this year.

**LAURA WALDEN has over twenty-six years of experience in the Olympic Movement, formerly at the European Olympic Committees with SportEurope under former IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge and IOC Member Mario Pescante. She worked with the Rome 2004 and Turin 2006 Olympic bids and also managed PR & media for Dr. Jacques Rogge during his campaign for the presidency.

Keywords · Olympics · Calgary 2026

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