As the Olympics get underway in Rio, work continues in Calgary to determine if the city should make a formal bid for the 2026 Winter Games.
Calgary City Council approved the spending of $5 million to set up an exploratory committee to assess the feasibility of an Olympic bid.
Rio is poised to spend $12 billion to host the games and Russia spent $51 billion on Sochi. However, Doug Mitchell with the Calgary Sports Tourism Authority says the days of big money Olympic Games are over.
New IOC policy for 2020 means building brand new facilities are no longer a requirement if existing infrastructure can be renovated. And Mitchell says since Calgary hosted the Olympics in 1988, a lot of that work has already been done.
“Calgary and Vancouver ran successful Olympics in the past, maybe even the best in history, right? And so I think the IOC is looking for somebody to kind of set the trend for the new games, which are reasonably financially viable, and not a competition as to who can spend the most money.”
The exploratory committee is expected to come back with a recommendation on a bid within the year, but before the committee was even created, Mitchell says he got an independent third party to analyze the Games’ possible economic benefits.
“The economic impact on the GDP would be $3.7 billion, and on income from a salary standpoint, $2.6 billion, and it will create 40,000 jobs.” Mitchell says. “Well, jobs in Alberta, what other project is going to create any jobs, let alone 40,000?” (News Talk 770, Global News, ms)