Sports economist warns Calgary's Olympic price tag could spiral - 660 NEWS
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Sports economist warns Calgary's Olympic price tag could spiral

(Kaitlin Lee, CityNews)

A Canadian sports economist believes Calgary’s already decided on the Olympics, and he’s warning the price tag of hosting could snowball.

Moshe Lander, from Concordia University in Montreal, is uncomfortable with the city spending $30-million on a bid he feels is “pre-determined.”

“This just looks like it’s for show for the public, to make everyone feel that everyone did their due diligence, but the reality is the games are not going to make money — and the reason for pursuing the games is for reasons other than economics,” he said.

Lander said Calgary should already know roughly what facilities are ready to go and what needs to be upgraded, but there are always going to be unforseen costs.

“I kind of liken this a little bit to the idea of you get a quote from a contractor for home renovations — and when you get the quote from the contractor, this is what it costs to do the project. But, when they actually start ripping apart the walls and taking this out, and they realize there was something else that they didn’t anticipate, or there was this damage wasn’t realized at the time — bit by bit this starts to add into the cost,” he said.

He said the International Olympic Committee’s offer of just under a billion dollars to help with hosting the games could be the perfect excuse to add on project after project — maybe even a new arena.

“If you don’t rebuild the Saddledome in time for the 2026 Olympics, by that point the Saddledome will be 40 years old. Is there any conceivable way that whoever the mayor is of Calgary at that time can say ‘now that the Olympics have come and gone, now let’s spend the money and replace the Saddledome?’,” Lander said.

He said the $4.6-billion price tag that’s being thrown around will only grow.