Winter 2026 is Coming, Says Calgary, and they Want to Host
31 May, 2017By: Mary Helen Sprecher
Survey Reveals Support for City’s Bid for Winter Olympics
Summer 2024? Forget about that. Winter is coming and Calgary wants to host.
A survey from the Calgary Bid Exploration Committee (CBEC) has revealed nearly two thirds of the 1,949 respondents were in favor of the city's potential bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games.
An article carried in Inside The Games noted the survey, given to residents of Calgary, Canmore, Banff and Cochrane, asked whether they would support an effort to bring the Games back to the Canadian city for the first time since 1988.
Thirty-two percent of those surveyed said they "strongly supported" a bid, while the same number simply noted they supported the idea. A total of 17 percent were opposed, eight percent of which were characterized as being strongly against the idea. (Another four percent said they were not sure and 15 percent responded that they were indifferent.)
As with many cities who have recently been given the choice of hosting (or not), there were key concerns. Transportation and housing, economic health and government finances and debt levels were among those that featured repeatedly in the survey.
The results will be featured in the CEBC’s report to the City Council on July 24.
The result marks a boost to Calgary's hopes of submitting a candidacy for the Games, although previous candidates, most recently including Budapest 2024, had similar support before being forced to withdraw amid a threat of a referendum.
"There is tremendous value in not only gathering, but truly understanding the opinions of Calgarians and area residents," said CEBC head Rick Hanson. "As a committee, we are invested in putting Calgary’s vision first. This means looking into every opportunity and concern identified by citizens during the bid exploration process."
Amid the other results were that 57 percent were in favor of the cost of submitting a bid, regardless of whether Calgary was successful or not. The CBEC added they had calculated an average cost of CAD $3.2 billion (US $2.3 billion) to stage the Winter Olympics. The cost of bidding has been highlighted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as an area for improvement following a spate of withdrawals in the races the 2022 and 2024 editions of the Games.
The survey came after the CBEC claimed last month that the city would need two full-sized arenas in order to host the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, and could reduce costs by using clusters of venues.
Calgary already has one major sports arena, the Scotiabank Saddledome, a key venue used when the Canadian city last hosted the Winter Olympics in 1988. However, Hanson noted, the numbers of sports and of athletes have doubled since 1988, leading to the need for a second venue.
A project entitled CalgaryNEXT remains in the pipeline after the City Council refused to label the plans as dead.
The Council also voted to continue to explore an arena replacement in Victoria Park, located just north of the Saddledome.
The Committee conducted an analysis based on previous Games - Vancouver 2010, Turin 2006 and Salt Lake City 2002.
They claimed Sochi 2014 was not comparable to a bid from Calgary due to the cost of the event in the Russian city, thought to be around $51 billion.
The full survey can be found here.
A number of other cities have indicated potential interest in a bid; although nothing has been finalized. Those cities include Ezurum, Turkey; Sion, Switzerland; Innsbruck, Austria; Sapporo, Japan (which hosted host in 1972). Stockholm, Sweden, has also indicated an interest; however, issues with funding and political disagreements about hosting have led many to think its chances are not good.