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The Calgary Event Centre Block and Culture + Entertainment District Event Centre Agreements and Financial Contribution

The Agreements – a summary

On October 5, 2023, agreements were signed between The City of Calgary (The City), Calgary Sports & Entertainment Corporation (CSEC), the Province of Alberta (Province), and Calgary Stampede (CS). They include a new modern event centre and additional investments for new infrastructure in the Culture + Entertainment District.

The agreements, available to view on this page, will give Calgarians insight into the partnership that The City has with CSEC, the Province of Alberta, and Calgary Stampede. Redactions in the agreements released are in place to protect sensitive and proprietary information about the project’s partners.

The information that’s in the agreements was publicly released over the last year and the key takeaways remain the same since our last update in October 2023, and the agreements in principle first shared in April 2023 – all of which are outlined below and on our FAQ page.

Calgary Event Centre Block

This site is almost 40% larger than the previous deal, which was a much more restrained space and only provided a building and one outdoor plaza.
The larger size allows for a better space that can include more community-focused elements listed below:
  1. 10-acre site
  2. Event centre
  3. Indoor community plaza
  4. Outdoor community event plazas
  5. Attached parkade
  6. Downtown’s only community rink, available for community sport and events, during evenings and weekends
  7. Future redevelopment site


Event Centre Block
Event Centre $800
Community Rink $52.8
Parkade $35.4
Outdoor community event plazas $28.7
Indoor community plaza $9.5
Total $926.4 million

Party financial contributions to Calgary Event Centre Block

Culture + Entertainment District improvements

The improvements are foundational to advance the Culture + Entertainment District as an accessible, active and walkable community where celebration is a way of life.

  • 6 Street S.E. underpass
    • Additional – and previously planned – connection between East Village, Inglewood, downtown and the Culture + Entertainment District 
    • Supports efficient movement of people who will live in the future residential areas, as well as those people walking, wheeling and driving into and out of the Culture + Entertainment District during events at the Event Centre, BMO Centre, Calgary Stampede areas. 
  • Streets and sidewalks that are designed to accommodate public events as well as connections for people walking, wheeling and driving:
    • 5A Street S.E.
    • 15 Avenue S.E.
    • 17 Avenue S.E.
    • 25 Avenues S.E.  
  • New and upgraded utilities to support current and future redevelopment in the area 
Culture + Entertainment District improvements
Transportation connections and improvements $147.1
Remediation, public spaces and demolition $57.8
Land purchase $33.5
Other $58.5
Total $296.9 million

Each Party plays a role

The City

The City of Calgary

The City will own The Event Centre Community Block and its facilities. This development supports the overall vision to complete Calgary’s Culture + Entertainment District, which includes a modern entertainment facility. It complements the long standing agricultural, convention and sports venues; while supporting the emerging cultural, arts and education facilities, and future residential, hotel, entertainment and retail redevelopments. It will be designed as a gathering place for all Calgarians and visitors. 

The City has been significantly investing in Calgary’s downtown for the past 10 years, which has intensified since the Downtown Strategy was approved in 2019. The recent focus has been implementing the Greater Downtown Plan through the Downtown Strategy, which includes incentive programs to begin reversing the high office vacancies and activating public spaces to encourage more people to visit and enjoy our downtown and its businesses.

The City’s support has also included new infrastructure and amenities in the Rivers District and Culture + Entertainment District, which includes BMO expansion, Green Line route and station, upgrades to Stampede station, Stampede Trail, and nearby improvements to 17 Avenue S. and 9 Avenue S.E. bridge.


Calgary Sports and Entertainment 

CSEC will operate and maintain the Event Centre over a 35-year term, which includes an annual lease payment made to The City to use the facilities. As part of the agreement, the Calgary Flames NHL franchise remains in Calgary for at least 35 more years and will provide additional annual funding to community sports, during that time.   

The Province

 The Province of Alberta

The Province is providing funding for infrastructure improvements in the Culture + Entertainment District, as well as half the cost of the community rink. These improvements include the 6 Street S.E. underpass, public gathering spaces, and upgrades to streets, sidewalks and accesses to the area.

This Provincial support is consistent with other significant investments that they’ve made in the Culture + Entertainment District, since 2007; specifically, through the formation of the Rivers District Community Revitalization Levy (CRL), which is an innovative funding source for new infrastructure and amenities throughout the area.

Most recently, the Province contributed funding through the CRL for the BMO Centre expansion, which will become the largest convention centre in western Canada. They are also funding 1/3 of the Green Line LRT program, which includes a station within the Culture + Entertainment District. The Province continues to support the Calgary Stampede – a long-standing Calgary institution and international attraction.  


The Calgary Stampede

Calgary Stampede enabled land transactions that increased the size of The Calgary Event Centre Block by almost 40%. They also made land available for future redevelopment opportunities, in exchange for land that they would require for their annual exhibition. As part of the agreement, The City will now own and control the roadways to better coordinate traffic and move people during events.


Calgary Municipal Land Corporation

Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) developed the vision for the Rivers District and Culture + Entertainment District. They have led and continue to oversee the development of the Culture + Entertainment District. CMLC and The City will collaborate on the Culture + Entertainment District improvements to make sure the whole area has the required infrastructure to support the Calgary Event Centre Block and the future development.

Financial contributions and The City’s return

There here have been questions about the funding, including party contributions and returns to the parties.  

The agreements outline three streams of funding that The City will receive from CSEC over the 35 year term:

  • $748.3 million (a present value of $356 million) 
    • $40 million upfront 
    • $17 million annual lease payment, escalating 1% per year
  • Future land sales 
    • Four properties identified for redevelopment
    • Future sale of Victoria Park Bus Maintenance Facility 
  • $52.5 million 
    • $1.5 million annual payment to community sport funding 

The City benefits from event revenues

All revenues streams, which include ticket surcharge and naming rights, within the Calgary Event Centre Block, are consolidated into one committed and predictable lease payment to The City - $17 million per year for 35 years. The lease payment escalates by 1% per year over 35 years.

Once the 35-year term is completed, CSEC will have contributed $748.3 million.

This approach means CSEC assumes the operations and revenue risk, in exchange for any potential upside returns. It minimizes risk to The City that’s associated with being exposed to multiple variable and unpredictable revenue streams over a longer 35-year term.

Comparing previous agreements

Previous Calgary Event Centre (July 2021)

The previous agreements, which concluded Dec. 31, 2021, was funding one project: an event centre building. When the previous agreements were in place, it estimated the building to be $608.5 million. CSEC also kept the revenues in the previous agreements, except for a minor naming rights allocation.

The current agreement, in principle, includes a complete package of projects that support the development of the whole Culture + Entertainment District. Where the previous agreements only included a building, one smaller outdoor community plaza and minor road work; the current agreement expands the scope through a city-building lens that includes more community and people-centred amenities, and redevelopment opportunities.

When the doors open, people will have new and improved accesses to the area, access to downtown’s only community rink, better spaces to gather and experience, and a modern event centre that will be Calgary’s and the region’s premier sports, arts and entertainment venue.

This agreement, in principle, gives Calgary, the downtown and the Culture + Entertainment District a broader scope for a much bigger return economically and socially, than the previous agreements.

Calgary Event Centre Block
Comparison to July 2021 July 2021 2023 Agreement Difference
Event Centre $608.5 $800 $191.5
Indoor Community Plaza $0.0 $9.5 $9.5
Parkade $0.0 $35.4 $35.4
Community Rink $0.0 $52.8 $52.8
Outdoor Community Plaza $0.0 $28.7 $28.7
Total $608.5 million $926.4 million $317.9 million
Culture + Entertainment District Improvements
Comparison to July 2021 July 2021 2023 Agreement Difference
Transportation connections and improvements $0.0 $147.1 $147.1
Remediation, public spaces and demolition $0.0 $57.8 $57.8
Land purchase $0.0 $33.5 $33.5
Other $0.0 $58.5 $58.5
 Total $0.0 $296.9 million $296.9 million

Edmonton's Rogers Place

The City is using a similar funding approach to the one used in Edmonton, where the City of Edmonton paid for Rogers Place and the OEG Inc. are required to make annual payments (rent and ticket surcharge) to offset the City of Edmonton investment. The OEG Inc.'s upfront investment ($27 million) was 4.4% of the total cost of Rogers Place ($637 million).

OEG Inc. receives the revenues from Rogers Place and are responsible for operating and maintenance expenses. Similarly, CSEC will retain revenues from the Calgary Event Centre and be responsible for operating and maintenance expenses.

CSEC  kept the revenues in the previous agreements, except for a minor naming rights allocation. Most NHL teams (and other major league teams) are responsible for the operating and maintenance expenses, as well as retain the revenues from the venues in which they play.