IOC offers no extra cash for Games
Official says Calgary has expertise, infrastructure to host Olympics
In a whirlwind visit to Calgary, just three weeks ahead of a plebiscite on the Olympics, members of the International Olympic Committee are urging Calgarians to embrace the Games once again.
Speaking to reporters at Canada Olympic Park on Wednesday, IOC executive director Christophe Dubi said Calgary already has all the expertise and nearly all the infrastructure it needs to host another Olympics.
He also said Calgary’s “low-risk” bid fits well with the IOC’s goal to decrease the financial burden on potential host countries.
“Let’s make sure we create the opportunity for Calgary to shine once more on the world stage. This would be fantastic for Calgary, but it would be great for the Games as well,” Dubi said.
But while IOC officials were happy to heap praise on Calgary’s bid, they also made it clear the organization won’t be offering any more money to cover the cost of hosting in 2026.
The IOC has pledged US$925 million to the host city of the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Dubi said the organization isn’t in a position to sweeten the pot any further.
“As a non-profit, we don’t have the financial reserves that allow us to commit outside of what we can today,” Dubi said. “The $925 (million) is the absolute maximum that we can go to.
“It’s not a lack of willingness. We are funding the whole sports movement and we keep, as IOC, what is needed to cover our operations.”
Some members of city council, as well as Premier Rachel Notley, have suggested that Calgary should seek more financial support from the IOC as the number of viable host city candidates for the 2026 Winter Games continues to dwindle.
But at Wednesday ’s news conference, Calgary 2026 CEO Mary Moran threw cold water on that idea.
“The IOC is not going to put investment into capital here — that’s not the IOC’s business, to build venues for cities,” Moran said, pointing out that the IOC has also pledged to share any additional commercial revenue should the 2026 Games turn a profit.
“They are putting $1.2 billion (Canadian) into our bid, which is a lot of money. If you line that up against the civic and provincial partners, it’s as much as they have indicated they are putting in. So I think that they are good partners.”
Calgary ’s host plan pegs the public portion of the Olympic bill at $3 billion. The total cost of the Games is estimated to be about $5.2 billion.
Calgarians have been waiting for clarity on exactly how much each order of government will contribute to the project and what the impact could be on taxpayers.
So far, the province has committed $700 million toward the cost of Calgary hosting. The city says it won’t declare what its contribution will be until the federal number is announced, which could come this week.
Moran said Wednesday that it’s “pure speculation” that there will be a shortfall in government funding for the Games. She said negotiations continue with governments while the bid corporation looks for possible savings in the host plan budget.
“We’ll leave no stone unturned,” she said.
Calgary 2026 says it invited IOC officials to visit the city ahead of the Nov. 13 plebiscite in order to answer any questions Calgarians have before the vote.
Olympic officials began their visit by meeting with Treaty 7 members on Tuesday. The group also met with business leaders and political officials, including city staff.
Asked if the IOC is concerned that a negative outcome from Calgary ’s plebiscite next month could doom the Canadian bid — as it has in countries such as Switzerland, which voted down a bid last June — Dubi said they aren’t concerned, but are hoping for the best.
“We shouldn’t be concerned about referendums. It’s healthy. Democracy is healthy,” Dubi said.
“Results are immensely important. We want a positive result.”
IOC executive director Christophe Dubi says the organization is not in a position to sweeten the pot beyond the US$925 million pledged.
Canadian skeleton team members train at Canada Olympic Park on Wednesday.