World Cup and Winter Olympics? 2026 would be a historic sports year for Canada

CALGARY — World Cup matches and an Olympic Games would put Canada front and centre in the sports world in 2026.

Canada’s successful bid to co-host the 2026 World Cup with the United States and Mexico coincides with Calgary travelling further down the road of bidding for the Winter Games of that same year.

The city has yet to greenlight a Winter Games bid, but a bid corporation — Calgary 2026 — is up and running as of this week.

Calgary’s provincial sports rival Edmonton is a candidate city, along with Montreal and Toronto, to host Canada’s 10 World Cup matches in 2026.

The man chairing Calgary 2026 sees the awarding of World Cup matches to Canada as a good harbinger for an Olympic bid, should the city go for it.

“What I think is positive about that bid is the international community wants to stage events in Canada,” Scott Hutcheson said Wednesday.

“It’s positive that Canadians would want to have those kinds of events, international events in Canada.”

Calgary has until January, when bid books are due, to decide. International Olympic Committee members will vote on a 2026 host city in September 2019.

Tourism Calgary chief executive officer Cindy Ady believes the prospect of World Cup soccer matches in Canada can enhance the country’s, and potentially Alberta’s, sports profile when it comes to a possible Winter Games bid.

“Being considered a place where major sporting events could take place, I think it adds to our cache,” Ady said. “I don’t, at this point, see any negative impacts.”

Winter Games in February and March wouldn’t compete with summer World Cup matches for sports’ fans attentions, but there might be hand-wringing over the potential cost of both in a single calendar year.

Canada has hosted, and paid for, major sports events in the same summer.

The 24-team women’s World Cup, staged in six stadiums across the country, and Toronto’s Pan American/Parapan Am Games that drew over 6,000 athletes from 41 countries, were held within weeks of each other in 2015.

The Pan Am price tag was $2.4 billion, with the federal government kicking in half a billion dollars.

Canada Soccer said the combined cost of the women’s World Cup and the 2014 under-20 women’s World Cup was $216 million, with $15 million coming from the feds.

Canada will host a fraction of the 80 men’s World Cup matches in 2026, so costs will proportionally reflect that. The federal government has pledged up to $5 million.

An initial estimate for Calgary to host the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games was $4.6 billion, although financials, and what the taxpayers’ share would be, continue to be crunched.

Just Posted

Scares and chills await at haunted house in Red Deer

Zed Haunted House helps raise money for Boys and Girls Club of Red Deer District

PHOTO: Renewable Energy Fair at Red Deer College

The Renewable Energy Fair and Workshops event was held at Red Deer… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Red Deer College Queens host third annual Pink in the Rink game

Queens raised $12,035 for the Central Alberta Cancer Centre.

PHOTOS: The Mustard Seed CEO speaks at Seeds of Hope Gala in Red Deer

The first-ever Seeds of Hope Gala was held at the Red Deer… Continue reading

Person airlifted to hospital after collision near Innisfail

One person was airlifted to hospital after a serious collision west of… Continue reading

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Turkey to reveal details of probe into Khashoggi’s killing

ISTANBUL — In a sign of growing pressure on Saudi Arabia, Turkey… Continue reading

Utah truck driver is jailed without bond after crash kills 6

HEBER, Utah — A man suspected of driving under the influence remained… Continue reading

A ragged, growing army of migrants resumes march toward US

TAPACHULA, Mexico — A ragged army of Honduran migrants streamed through southern… Continue reading

Postal workers to begin strikes in 4 Canadian cities Monday if deal not reached

OTTAWA — The union representing 50,000 Canada Post employees says it will… Continue reading

Migrant caravan swells to 5,000, resumes advance toward US

CIUDAD HIDALGO, Mexico — Despite Mexican efforts to stop them at the… Continue reading

“I don’t feel real”: Mental stress mounting after Michael

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Amy Cross has a hard time explaining the… Continue reading

Toronto residents set to vote Monday on the next four years of civic leaders

Toronto’s municipal election campaign, marked by unprecedented provincial interference, ends Monday when… Continue reading

Former PQ minister Lise Payette remembered as role model for female politicians

MONTREAL — Members from across Quebec’s political spectrum gathered at a downtown… Continue reading

Most Read