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Event Centre Agreements

Council authorized Administration to negotiate and execute definitive documents relating to the design, construction, use and operation of the new Event Centre in east Victoria Park on July 30, 2019.

On December 5, The City of Calgary signed agreements with the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation and its affiliates (CSEC), the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede Ltd. (Stampede) and the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC). Copies of City agreements related to design, construction and use of the Event Centre are available in the right sidebar.​

These agreements set out how the new Event Centre will be built, owned and managed, as well as ensure that costs, obligations and benefits are well-defined. Key points from the final agreements include:

  • The City and CSEC have entered into a 35-year arrangement, as documented in the Management and Lease Agreement, with an option to extend for some years beyond that.
  • CSEC will be responsible for the operating, maintenance and repair costs of the Event Centre (other than major structural repairs).
  • The total capital cost of the Event Centre is estimated at $550 million, with both parties contributing $275 million toward the cost of designing and constructing the Event Centre (refer to the “Financial Terms” section below).
  • The City will own the Event Centre and the land it is constructed on.
  • CMLC will act as the development manager for the Event Centre and be responsible for the design, procurement and construction of the facility.
  • CMLC will conduct public engagement during 2020.
  • The City will receive facility fees, defined usage of the Event Centre for public events, as well as other benefits outlined on this page.

Guiding principles

The City was guided by the following July 30, 2018 Council-approved principles when negotiating definitive agreements:

  1. The Event Centre should be a gathering place for all Calgarians that includes, but is not limited to: concerts, assemblies, festivals, professional and amateur sports, linked to an outdoor gathering space.
  2. Public funds must be used for public benefit, including but not limited to improving access and availability for individuals and groups, while also providing economic benefits for the Calgary economy.
  3. The Event Centre must be a catalyst to attract further vibrancy and investment as an anchor for further development in a mixed-use neighbourhood.
  4. The Event Centre must be viable and sustainable as its own entity while contributing as part of a comprehensive master plan vision that supports The City of Calgary’s planning objectives and enhances our communities’ brand and reputation.
  5. The Event Centre could be a partnership between The City of Calgary and external parties.
  6. While negotiations will be kept private, there will be engagement with the public throughout the process whenever possible to ensure transparency.
  7. If a funding agreement for an Event Centre is reached between The City of Calgary and external groups, it must be made public and presented to Council for final decision.

Financial terms

The total capital cost of the Event Centre is estimated at $550 million. This includes an arena with up to 19,000 seats and commercial and retail space. It may also include a second smaller arena if it can be constructed within the total capital cost.

No municipal property tax increases were proposed to fund the capital cost of the Event Centre: The City’s share of the investment includes capital budget funding primarily from the Major Projects Capital Reserve over the design and construction period.

Key financi​al terms within the agreements signed by The City of Calgary include
$​275 M ​The City’s capital investment in the new Event Centre, excluding transactional costs and demolition of the Saddledome.
​$250,000 ​The amount The City will receiv​​e each year for ten years based on its share of the naming rights.
​2%​ ​The percentage The City will get in ticket revenues for all events hosted in the Event Centre. The City’s share of this net facility fee is capped at $3 million per year for the first five years of the lease term.
​$200,000 ​CSEC will create a program to provide $200,000 a year (indexed to inflation) in ticket and hospitality packages.
​$1.5 million each year ​The Flames Foundation will contribute $1.5 million (escalating at two per cent for inflation) to various community sport organizations for each year of the lease.

Land ownership

  • The City will own 100 per cent of the Event Centre, including the lands on which it is located.
  • Agreements have been made to exchange lands with the Stampede (Saddledome lands for certain other City owned lands on Stampede Park.)
  • The City has also given CSEC the option to acquire certain lands in the Rivers District at a price equal to fair market value should they become available. This land includes the area that currently hosts The City’s Victoria Park Transit Centre; also known as the “bus barns.” This option will expire after 10 years from occupancy of the Event Centre.

Design and construction

  • CMLC will lead the public engagement. See the “Public Engagement” section below.
  • The City and CSEC chose CMLC to serve as the development manager for the Event Centre project because it has a track record of success in delivering projects in the Rivers District on time and on budget.
  • A series of project stage gates have been developed to protect all parties and manage risk.
  • The lease will start when CMLC completes the construction of the Event Centre.

Project governance

  • A Steering Committee has been established to oversee design and construction of the Event Centre. This is the best practice for projects of this size and scope. The committee is comprised of senior executives from The City, CMLC and CSEC who will work to identify, manage, and mitigate risk. 
  • The goal of the Steering Committee is to ensure the Event Centre is constructed on time and within budget. Once construction is complete, an Oversight Committee will take over in accordance with the provisions of the lease.

See related FAQ​ for names of executives on the Steering Committee.

Public engagement

  • Engagement will be led by CMLC and will be used to inform a shared and “living” vision for the project that will guide future development of the Event Centre and the surrounding area.
  • The inclusive outreach program will engage residents, business interests, development community members, key stakeholders and partners, and the broader public in the process.
  • Engagement will start January 2020 and conclude April 2020 with a final report.

Public benefit

  • The City will receive access to the Event Centre for five days each year for public events.
  • If a secondary arena is constructed, community organizations will receive access to it.
  • CMLC will construct community gathering/festival space on Olympic Way to be used by CSEC, the Stampede, The City and community organizations.

Calgary Flames and Flames Foundation

  • The Event Centre will replace the Saddledome, the current home of the Calgary Flames, which was built for the 1988 Winter Olympic Games.
  • CSEC has agreed not to relocate the Flames during the construction period or the 35-year lease term that follows it.
  • The Flames Foundation will contribute $1.5 million (escalating at two per cent for inflation) to various community sport organizations for each year over the lease term.

Benefit to Calgarians

The finalization of Event Centre agreements not only launches a formal process to design and build this new facility,  it also represents a great opportunity for the coordinated development of major building projects expected to  accelerate the revitalization of the Rivers District and the East Victoria Park. This work will also support The City’s Downtown Strategy to further Calgary’s economic recovery and resilience.

The Event Centre is a strategic investment in our city’s future, a partnership with long-term public benefit. These benefits include:

  • Attracting and retaining young talent in a re-energized, entrepreneurial and socially vibrant city.
  • Calgary being included in tours by world-leading performing artists, major events and festivals.
  • Solidifying Calgary’s place as a major destination for visitors from around the world.
  • Creating another exciting place for Calgarians to gather, strengthen relationships and celebrate.
  • The Event Centre being a catalyst for attracting private sector investment to the district and the development of under-used lands. Other projects that will benefit the area include the BMO Centre expansion currently underway, Stampede LRT Station upgrades, as well as construction of a festival space on Olympic Way that CMLC will construct for use by CSEC, the Stampede, The City and community organizations.
  • Community sports organizations receiving a contribution from The Flames Foundation of $1.5 million (escalating at 2 per cent for inflation) each year over the lease term.
  • The City receiving some access to the Event Centre for public events. If a secondary arena is constructed, community organizations would have access to it.
  • Revenues and benefits are defined in the signed agreements. This includes tax revenue that will be generated from the street-facing retail portion of the Event Centre and other developments in the Rivers District.

For more information, please see Event Centre FAQs and Event Centre main page. Additionally, you can contact 311 (from within Calgary) or 403-268-CITY (2489). You can also submit questions to 311 Online.

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Event Centre partners

  • Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) 
  • Calgary Exhi​bition and Stampede Ltd. (Stampede) ​
  • Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC)
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