IOC commits hundreds of millions to 2026 host city, Calgary mulling bid

CALGARY — The International Olympic Committee has committed to contributing US$925 million to the host city of the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Calgary is among the cities mulling a bid. Stockholm and Sapporo, Japan are seriously interested while Erzurum, Turkey, Graz, Austria and a joint bid from cities in Italy are also in play.

The IOC published its host city contract Monday detailing measures designed to save a Winter Games host city $500 million and a Summer Games host city $1 billion.

Among the measures are maximizing use of existing venues and infrastructure, a streamlined games delivery approach, enhanced integration with Paralympic Games and a “clearer allocation of IOC-paid services.”

A Calgary Bid Exploration Committee estimated the cost of Calgary hosting the 2026 Winter Games at $4.6 billion with games revenues covering almost half the cost.

That figure is under review, however. The price tag of the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C., was about $7.7 billion.

Calgary hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics and the legacy venues provide the foundation for another potential bid.

A Calgary bid corporation, Calgary 2026, was established last month with former national-team skier and real estate entrepreneur Scott Hutcheson as chair and hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser as vice chair.

The deadline to bid for the 2026 Games is January and the host city will be announced in September, 2019.

The host city contract applies to 2026 bidders as well as previously elected hosts for the 2024 Summer Games (Paris) and 2028 Games (Los Angeles), the IOC said in a statement.

A lack of candidate cities for the 2022 Winter Games — Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan were the only finalists — prompted the IOC to reform its bidding in an effort to make hosting cheaper and more sustainable.

“This is another significant step in making the Olympic and Paralympic Games a reality for the communities that have the ambition of hosting the world’s biggest sporting event,” IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi said in the statement.

“We are enabling the organisation of games that will be sustainable and create lasting legacies for their citizens, while also reducing complexity and costs.”

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