The financial situation surrounding Calgary’s 2026 Winter Olympics bid is starting to get a little clearer.
Following through on the promise to announce funding one month prior to the city-wide plebiscite in November, the Government of Alberta has stated in a letter to Mayor Naheed Nenshi that it is willing to commit a maximum of $700 million towards the Games.
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The money comes only if Calgary fulfils three requirements laid out in the letter from Minister of Finance Joe Ceci; that the majority of Calgarians support the bid in the plebiscite; that the IOC ultimately awards the 2026 Olympics to the City of Calgary; and that “the Calgary 2026 Bid Corporation and/or any successor corporation or organization committee [be] subject to increased transparency requirements.”
The letter also stated that the Government of Alberta would not be able to help out if the Games end up costing more than the projected $5.2 billion.
“As you know, the Government of Alberta will not be able to provide any additional funds that may be required, including those to cover revenue shortfalls or cost over-runs,” Minister Ceci stated in the letter.
“Moreover, we will not be providing any form of guarantee for additional costs arising from any source.”
Of the $5.2 billion price tag that would come along with hosting 2026, roughly $2.2 billion is expected to be returned through revenue and funds supplied by the International Olympics Committee, leaving $3 billion to be covered by the City of Calgary, the Government of Alberta, and the Government of Canada.
With Alberta offering $700 million, that still leaves roughly $2.3 billion to be fronted by Calgary and Ottawa, and the federal government has yet to officially announce what portion they’d be willing to pay.
Calgary is one of just three remaining cities that could be chosen to host the 2026 Winter Games, with Erzurum, Turkey being left off a list released by IOC earlier this month.
Calgarians will have their say about the future of the city’s bid on November 13 in a plebiscite that, though not be legally binding, will have the future of the Province’s investment on the line.