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Cost to Calgary households to host 2026 Olympics

October 17, 2018
Cost to Calgary households to host 2026 Olympics

The typical Calgary household will pay more than $2,000 to host the 2026 winter games. This is a best-case scenario for Calgary households.

  • $2,057.43/Calgary household… No cost overruns
  • $5,810.07/Calgary household… 65 per cent cost overruns (same as Calgary 1988)
  • $10,967.96/Calgary household… 142 per cent cost overruns (average for winter Olympics)

The Calculation

CTF analysis divides the total Olympics tax bill facing Calgarians, $1.057 billion (federal portion + provincial portion + municipal commitment), by the number of Calgary households, 513,878. This results in the best case scenario of $2,057.43 per household. The same calculation is done to get the cost associated with overruns ($5,810.07 = $2.986 billion/513,878 households); ($10,967.96 = $5.636 billion/513,878 households).

The calculation assumes the federal government commits the full amount under its policy for hosting international sporting events. Under the policy, federal commitments will not exceed 35 per cent of total costs or 50 per cent of the taxpayer tab. When there are no overruns, the federal government can provide up to 50 per cent of the taxpayer tab. With 65 per cent cost overruns (overruns during 1988 Calgary Olympics) and 142 per cent overruns (average winter Olympics overruns), the federal government pays 35 per cent of the total event cost (50 per cent of taxpayer tab exceeds 35 per cent of total cost).

The calculation uses the $700 million contribution announced by the Alberta government. As per the Alberta government’s announcement, the calculation does not allow for the province to pay for cost overruns.

The calculation assumes the city of Calgary will pay the remainder of the taxpayer bill.

The calculation uses 513,878 households (total household dwellings in Calgary as of April 2018 – non-residential use dwellings). This number is larger than the total assessed residential properties in 2018 and the number of households identified in the 2016 Canadian census. If the CTF used the smaller household figures, the cost per household would be greater.

The $2,000 figure is a best case scenario as it does not include any cost overruns, interest payments or any further costs not included in Calgary 2026's hosting plan. The figure doesn’t include the price of attending Olympic events.

Other Facts

Groceries for a family of four cost an average of $220/week. With no overruns, the Olympics will cost nine weeks of groceries for a family. With Calgary 1988-sized overruns, the Olympics will cost twenty-six weeks of groceries for a family. With average winter Olympic-sized overruns, the Olympics will cost a family nearly a year (fifty weeks) of groceries. These are conservative numbers as a family of four is greater than typical household size.

House league hockey fees in Calgary costs about $700. With no overruns, the Olympics will cost a household three years of house league hockey fees. With Calgary 1988-sized overruns, the Olympics will cost eight years of hockey fees. With average winter Olympic-sized overruns, the Olympics will cost a household nearly sixteen years of house league hockey fees.

The average Albertan household spends $2,687 on “Gifts of money, support payments and charitable contributions” per year. With no overruns, the Olympics will cost a household nearly one full year of these charitable gifts. With Calgary 1988-sized overruns, the Olympics will cost a household two years of these charitable gifts. With average winter Olympic-sized overruns, the Olympics will cost a household four years of these charitable gifts.

On Air Canada, a round trip flight to Stockholm, Sweden currently costs $1,200. Under this price, a household can nearly afford two tickets to Stockholm and back for the price of the Olympics. With Calgary 1988-sized overruns, the Olympics will cost a household nearly five roundtrip tickets to Stockholm. With average winter Olympic-sized overruns, the Olympics will cost a household nine roundtrip tickets to Stockholm.

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