UPDATE Nov 4 2018 – See our take on the new “lower” cost 2026 Calgary Olympics: Revised Calgary 2026 Olympic Bid Math is Fiction

We answer the question of who pays the bill for the Calgary 2026 Winter Olympic Games by using two sets of official numbers and one set of very logical estimates.

It is important to note that because there are so many unknowns including hundreds of millions of dollars in so called “soft-costs” (off-ramps, pre-bid expenses, unaccounted security, …) that do not show up in budgets, it is an absolute certainty that all official numbers presented will substantially underestimate the total number of dollars invested in the Olympics.  That statement is made not to be negative but to be factual.

Calgary 2026 Olympic Background Facts:

  1. You may have heard that the Calgary 2026 Olympic games have an estimated budget of $5.2 Billion but in fact the City’s own reports show that it will be $5.9 Billion after adjusting for inflation.
  2. The Canadian Federal Government put $655 Million into the Vancouver 2010 games so if we adjust that same amount for inflation to 2026 dollars it comes to just under $1 Billion
  3. Our analysis of all Olympics since 1972 shows that it is highly likely that Olympic budgets will about double.  So in the third scenario below we very conservatively added 30% which we think is reasonable number.
  4. In the third scenario below in which we estimate a real budget of $8 Billion dollars and we expect the Province of Alberta and the Federal Government to pay $1 Billion and $2 Billion respectively.  We think those are very reasonable numbers to work with.  Remember that if the Canadian Federal Government puts in $2 Billion into the Calgary 2026 games, that would be double what they put into Vancouver’s games even accounting for inflation.

Calgary 2026 Olympic Budget Scenarios:


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