Financial concerns leave Calgary wary of 2026 bid


CANADA: The city of Calgary wants more information from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) before deciding whether to pursue a bid for the 2026 Winter Games.

A potential bid was on the agenda of Monday’s city council meeting in the city in Western Canada that hosted the 1988 Winter Games.

But the bid exploration committee concluded that while a bid is “feasible” it is not sure to be “prudent” and the bid committee want more details from the IOC on host requirements and possible support that would help reduce costs.

“There’s absolutely no way to give a ‘yes’ today,” councillor Andre Chabot said. “There’s too many uncertainties. We need a better picture.”

The bid exploration committee has estimated the price tag for the games to be about $4.6 billion.

That’s lower than the $7.7 billion that the 2010 Games in Vancouver, in part because Calgary would be able to use some already existing venues.

The committee’s figures estimate the Games would need an injection of some $1.2 billion from municipal and provincial governments to balance the budget.

The committee urged the council to hold off on a decision to see what support the IOC might be able to provide to reduce costs, given IOC president Thomas Bach’s declaration in May that the “candidature process … has become too expensive and too onerous”.

The IOC has assured the bid exploration committee that streamlined procedures for organizers offer “opportunities for significant savings”.

The host of the 2026 Winter Games will be selected in 2019.

Sion, Switzerland, and Innsbruck, Austria, have voiced interest in bidding for the 2026 Games. Stockholm expressed early interest but indicated in April it would not mount a bid.