By Steve Keating
(Reuters) – Calgary and Edmonton will explore a joint bid to host the 2030 Commonwealth Games, Commonwealth Sport Canada said on Tuesday, stepping in for Hamilton, the Canadian city that launched the multi-sport event in 1930, after it failed to secure the necessary financial support.
Hamilton had been considered the frontrunner and preferred candidate to stage the centennial Games but was unable to obtain the required government backing by Commonwealth Sport Canada’s February deadline.
The Hamilton100 bid proposed an operating budget of around C$1 billion CDN ($727 million), with the private sector kicking in between $250 million to $500 million.
“Commonwealth Sport Canada set an early deadline for provincial financial support and the province simply didn’t have sufficient time to make a commitment,” Hamilton100 bid chief Louis Frapporti told Reuters on Tuesday.
“As a consequence Commonwealth Sport Canada jumped to Alberta, where they were prepared to make an early commitment to support the funding of bid preparation.
“It’s anyone’s guess whether they can finalise and submit a bid.
“Our provincial stakeholders remain interested in advancing a bid in the event that Alberta doesn’t get it across the line.”
Commonwealth Sport Canada and the Alberta 2030 Commonwealth Games Corporation have scheduled a press conference for Wednesday in Calgary to officially launch the exploration process.
Calgary hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics but saw hopes of bringing the 2026 Winter Games back to the western Canadian city dashed when citizens voted resoundingly against a bid.
Edmonton hosted the 1978 Commonwealth Games.
If Canada does not put forward a bid it would be another blow for the quadrennial event.
Australia will have staged two of the last three Commonwealth Games when Victoria hosts in 2026.
Birmingham hosted the 2022 Games, coming to the rescue after Durban, South Africa was stripped of the competition over financial concerns.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Stephen Coates)