A rendering of what Stampede Park could look like if Calgary hosts the Winter X Games from 2020 to 2022.
City of Calgary
The Calgary Winter X Games face an uncertain future as the United Conservative Party reviews a provincial funding commitment and as questions surround necessary corporate sponsorship.The city scored exclusive rights to host the Winter X Games in March for the next three year so long as they secure corporate backers. However, Tourism Calgary and X Games media were unavailable for comment Friday to confirm if they have a firm commitment.Mayor Naheed Nenshi told reporters Friday he has heard concerns about Calgary’s ability to secure a sponsor in time for 2020.“I know that that work continues,” said Nenshi. “I want to remind everyone that the X Games is a multi-year prospect. The hope is to start in 2020, but there was always the consideration that it might have to start in 2021. I’m still hoping we’ll go for 2020.”Through Tourism Calgary, the city said it will invest $1.8 million per year from 2020 to 2022 to support the extreme sports tournament. The promise was made in addition to a $13.5 million commitment by the former government shortly before the provincial election was called.Now, the newly-elected United Conservative Government is debating whether the financial backing of the Calgary Winter X Games fits within its budget.Related
“Getting Alberta’s fiscal situation back on track is job number one, but I’m not saying that it won’t move forward. We will take a look at it to whether it’s a good use of tax dollars,” said spokesman Justin Brattinga from Tanya Fir’s office of the Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism.He said the decision won’t be made until late October and while it’s a late date, considering the proposed games are slated to begin next winter, they have no choice but to qualify the necessity of funding considering their mandate to balance Alberta’s budget.“We definitely support having Calgary on the map as an international sport tourism destination,” said Brattinga, but added that the $13.5 million commitment was only guaranteed if corporate sponsorship was secured.He wasn’t able to confirm if it has been or not and said the government will take this into account during budget considerations, in addition to the economic impact the games would have on Alberta.It is estimated the Winter X Games would bring 75,000 spectators to the city each year, pumping approximately $75 million into the economy.With files from Meghan Potkins