Alberta dumps 2030 Commonwealth Games bid due to cost concerns

Alberta's departure from the 2030 race and last month's cancellation of the 2026 Games in Victoria, Australia pose existential threats to the Commonwealth Games moving forward

Canada’s province of Alberta has withdrawn support for a 2030 Commonwealth Games bid that was proposed jointly by Calgary and capital Edmonton last March.

Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony
Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony (Photo: Melbourne 2006)

A spokesperson for Alberta’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports confirmed the decision Thursday, making it essentially impossible to continue with the bid. According to CBC a statement said “We promised to remain transparent with Albertans about the costs of hosting international sporting events and clearly demonstrating a return on our investment for the people and communities of Alberta.”

“In the case of the 2030 Commonwealth Games, the numbers just didn’t add up for our government to commit taxpayer’s money with the games estimated to cost $2.68 billion.”

The statement added “corporate sponsorship model and limited broadcast revenues for the Commonwealth Games would have put 93 per cent of financial burden and risks on Albertans.”

A statement released by Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek’s office confirmed that the bid cannot move forward, explaining “The provincial government’s decision to withdraw from Alberta’s 2030 Commonwealth Games bid process effectively terminates the bid and the City of Calgary’s participation.”

Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi released a more upbeat statement about the bid’s demise.

“I appreciated being notified by [Alberata Tourism and Sports] Minister Schow as soon as the decision was made by the provincial government to withdraw its support.”

“As one of the 40 best sports cities in the world, we were truly excited to unite people worldwide in a celebration of sport and culture, advance reconciliation with our Indigenous partners and create infrastructure and program legacies for future generations.

“We want to thank all partners who participated in this provincial bid exploration. We look forward to continued work with our government partners.”

Executive director of operations for the Alberta 2030 Commonwealth Games Bid Committee, Amanda Espinoza told CBC “We are disappointed with the unexpected decision by the Government of Alberta.”

“In less than a month we were going to share the plan with the public and were eager to have an open dialogue about community priorities, advancing Reconciliation and building a vision as Albertans that we could collectively work towards.”

The bid had recently launched a website and a full array of social media channels to consult with the public.

Alberta’s departure from the race will mark a further blow to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) that is still trying to recover from the abrupt cancellation of the Victoria, Australia 2026 Games last month after government officials declared that costs had tripled and the Games would be too expensive for taxpayers.

No new prospects have been named for the Games due to open in three years, and no other serious bidder has come forward for 2030.

Hamilton in Canada previously stepped back from a 2026 bid and has also put a possible 2030 bid in hiatus after the project failed to gain the necessary government traction.

More to come…

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.

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