Calgary city council mulls putting more money into 2026 bid
Calgary is coming up on an off-ramp for the 2026 Winter Games as city council contemplates spending more money on a potential bid.
A project team comprised of city administration and consultants asked council Monday for $2 million to continue the work of the Calgary Bid Exploration Committee, which ended operations Oct. 31.
Council heard the rationale behind the ask and will decide next week whether to grant that request.
“My understanding from what we’re hearing today is without the additional funding it will be very, very hard to actually move forward, so council needs to determine if they’re in for a bit more here,” Mayor Naheed Nenshi said.
Council committed $5 million just over a year ago to CBEC, which concluded the price tag for hosting the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Games would be approximately $4.6 billion.
CBEC predicted Games revenue would cover almost the cost, but another $2.4 billion would be needed.
CBEC’s work came in $1.5 million under budget. The savings were passed onto a city project team that has taken over assessing risk of hosting the Games.
Council wants a deep dive into addressing five areas before it greenlights a bid: capital costs; security; operating costs; finances; and financial guarantees.
Announcements by the International Olympic Committee since CBEC’s report have changed timelines and altered the financial picture for cities interested in 2026.
The IOC will invite cities to bid in October, 2018, followed by bid submissions in January, 2019. The latter is six months earlier than the original deadline for bids in late 2019.