Well-known Calgary businessman Scott Hutcheson has been selected as the chair of the board of directors for Calgary’s 2026 Olympic Bid Corp. Hutcheson is the co-founder of Aspen Properties and the company’s executive chair of the board. Aspen owns a number of office properties in Calgary and Edmonton.
Calgary’s Business: Why did you take on this role?
Hutcheson: I skied for Canada and understand the power of sport, and got a great education for a young guy as a competitor and I feel a duty to give back both from outside of the sports world and just generally in our community. I’ve been given a lot and I want to give a lot back.
CB: What’s the next step for the group?
Hutcheson: We have a CEO to hire. We have a lot of work to do with the information we’ve gathered to date – that the city’s gathered to date. We have to understand the value proposition of what the investment looks like for an Olympics. And then we have to go to our partners, which includes the City of Calgary, the province and the federal government, and we have to determine what that value proposition looks like and sign an agreement with our government friends and partners. And then we have to do an agreement with the Canadian Olympic Committee that shares some revenues related to the Rings, which the COC owns within Canada. Those are the big things that we have to do and it all comes before a plebiscite.
CB: Since we’ve gone this far in the process, is it almost a foregone conclusion that we will be putting in a bid?
Hutcheson: No. All three levels of government have to decide. They don’t know the value proposition yet. All three levels of government haven’t said go forward with this. They’ve said bring us back an arrangement that makes sense and then the COC has to do the same thing. And we have to make sure the information’s out in the public and we have to give one conversation one conversation at a time. We have to be able to give our community the ability to get the information they need and get comfortable with the bid or not. That will be determined through a plebiscite. So there are many steps between now and a bid book being submitted in January. We’ve got to make sure we carefully evaluate every one of those processes and get the information in the hands necessary for our community to be able to make an informed decision.
CB: As a former athlete and a current businessman, what do you see as the economic benefits of hosting an Olympics?
Hutcheson: I don’t know the numbers well enough to be able to tell you what that looks like. But we will know the numbers and there’s two things that we need to measure. One’s the return on investment and one’s the return on community. That’s things like what housing stock do we put back into the community? What does that cost? What are the infrastructure investments in athletic facilities that we make? How many jobs do we create? Is that stuff worth the investment from each of the levels of government? So we’ll get there. I’m pretty new on the job and I’ve got a lot of homework, and I need to do a good job of providing that homework to the community.
CB: Recently it was announced that Canada, Mexico and the U.S. would co-host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Will that be helpful for a Winter Olympic bid from Canada?
Hutcheson: I think it’s really exciting for soccer. I think it’s really great news for Canada in that the world sports community sees Canada as a viable destination. I’m the kind of guy who would love to see Canada on the world stage if it makes sense to our community and if that international community wants to pick us.
– Mario Toneguzzi
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