The X Games are no longer coming to Calgary, Mayor Naheed Nenshi said Thursday.
« It required that bit of government funding both from the city and the province to be able to get over the hump on this, and I just don’t see that being replaced, » Nenshi said. « As of today, unfortunately, that project will not move forward in Calgary. »
Tourism Calgary representatives said they were informed Wednesday that the provincial government would no longer consider funding to launch the X Games. The provincial budget had slashed a $13.5 million commitment made by the previous NDP government.
Officials had expressed hope Monday that there still might be time to find funding prior to the 2021 festival, but those hopes appear to have been dashed.
« We understand the provincial government needs to make some difficult decisions, and is doing so in this budget, » said Cindy Ady, CEO of Tourism Calgary CEO in a release. « We brought the opportunity of being the first Canadian city to host X Games to our provincial partners and to our local and national sponsors because we continue feel strongly that this event would have significantly contributed to Calgary’s economy, brand and spirit at the right time of year. »
Nenshi said the X Games would have brought in visitors at a traditionally slower time of year in Calgary.
« Our friends at Tourism Calgary are exceptionally good at being resourceful and finding new sources of funding. They’ve done a great job at leveraging the money they’ve got, » Nenshi said. « If they can find $12 million over three years, awesome, but it’s going to be hard. It’s certainly going to be hard to pull off the 2021 Games.
« I don’t have a lot of optimism that that can happen. »
Starting in 2020, Calgary was projected to host the X Games for a minimum of three years, and would have become the first Canadian city to host the festival. Previous stints have been held in Shanghai, Aspen, Oslo and Sydney.
The X Games were projected to bring $75 million in annual economic impact to Calgary.