Hamilton Could Pivot 2030 Commonwealth Games Bid To 2026; Calgary Out Of Race

Commonwealth Sport Canada (CSC) has selected the city of Hamilton as Canada’s nomination to bid for either the 2030 or 2026 edition of the Games, the organization confirmed last week.

In a video conference held with the Hamilton 100 bid group, CSC officials said Hamilton would become Canada’s bidder, and work would continue to determine which hosting year should be the focus moving forward.

That choice will be made by the end of May, according to comments made by CSC Chief Brian MacPherson reported by insidethegames.

“At this time CSC is moving forward with Hamilton as Canada’s Preferred Candidate City to host a Commonwealth Games,” MacPherson said.

“Further, with unique considerations from the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), Hamilton is currently exploring the possibility of moving their bid from the 2030 to the 2026 Commonwealth Games.”

Dubbed Hamilton 100, the bid was intended for the centenary edition of the inaugural Commonwealth Games that were held in the same Ontario city in 1930.  The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is expected to elect a host city for both 2026 and 2030 simultaneously within the next year.

Hamilton 100 spokesman Lou Frapporti said hosting the Games four years earlier in 2026 would accelerate infrastructure investments and produce economic and tourism benefits earlier than planned.

Amid the current coronavirus pandemic that was said to have delayed CSC’s intended March 31 decision, Hamilton 100 is working “quietly, behind the scenes, talking very intensely about this and trying to find a path forward,” Frapporti said.

A Games in 2026 could conflict with the FIFA World Cup set to be staged in Canada, United States and Mexico.  BMO Field in nearby Toronto is expected to be a host venue for the event and the Commonwealth Games could be forced to compete for limited provincial and federal sports funding.

CSC said it has already narrowed down the two-city race after excluding Calgary’s application to host the 2026 Games.

“Despite submitting a strong and innovative Hosting Plan Proposal, the Calgary 2026 Community Bid Group were not able secure the support of their Municipal and Provincial Governments,” MacPherson said.

Calgary last hosted the Olympic Winter Games in 1988
Calgary last hosted the Olympic Winter Games in 1988

A group of Calgary athletes made a last-minute entry into the race, but the city has suffered from the recent oil price crash and would find it difficult to secure provincial support while the economy is also reeling from the effects of COVID-19.  Calgarians also voted to reject the city’s 2026 Winter Olympic bid in 2018.

The Hamilton 100 project has been ongoing for over a year and secured the required municipal support on February 19.

Officials have estimated that a $1.4 billion (USD $992 million) investment would be required to support a Hamilton Commonwealth Games with 20 percent coming from the city and additional funds provided by provincial and federal partners.

The CGF is said to be in talks with various other international cities that could rival Hamilton’s bid on the global stage.

Birmingham, U.K. has been scheduled to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

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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