The Calgary Journal
The Calgary Journal

With the Olympics possibly returning to Calgary in 2026, it is worth looking at how much it will cost Albertans to watch the various sporting events and festivities.

Our best guess is based on a review of:

  • Ticket prices at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games
  • Current prices at the Olympics in PyeongChang
  • Issues that complicate getting your hands on Olympic tickets

2010 Vancouver Olympic prices

Vancouver spectators paid a minimum of $275 per person to see all four of the lowest priced events and the opening ceremony.

The 2010 Winter Games made an effort to keep prices at $100 or less for half of all tickets, making the Games a somewhat affordable experience. The most affordable tickets started at $25, which included both alpine and cross-country skiing, as well as biathlon and hockey.

One of the largest events was the opening ceremony, with tickets starting at $175 and shooting up to $1,100 for premium seats.

2018 prices in PyeongChang

In PyeongChang, attending the same events is about $330 per person.

The lowest price tickets run at roughly $23 CAD for events such as Paralympic skiing, biathlon and snowboarding while opening ceremony tickets starting at $241.

Stubhub Canada is pricing men’s cross-country skiing tickets at $491 to stand and $553 for a seat. The least expensive preliminary men’s hockey game also starts at $491, jumping up to $737 for premium seating.

Price variation is extreme because Korean residents have first dibs through the official Olympic website. Foreigners have less access to official tickets and are therefore paying more through official resellers and other third parties.

Getting tickets can be cumbersome

Getting tickets at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver was less about price and more about luck. Tickets were distributed via a lottery in many cases when demand exceeded the supply of tickets.

A few months before the Games began, applicants vying for the first phase of ticket sales had only five weeks to apply. Similarly, the first phase of tickets for the PyeongChang 2018 Games were sold between February and April last year.  

Sometimes, other issues complicate the ticket process.

During the 1988 Calgary Olympics, a scandal involving the ticketing manager culminated in several thousand illegitimate ticket applications being sent to United States applicants.

After the scandal, Jim McGregor was convicted on fraud and theft charges. McGregor planned to skim money off the exchange rate coming into Canada, as the phony applications requested USD funds only. The illegitimate applications were treated as legitimate in order to honour those who had sent funds according to the Chicago Tribune.

Our estimated bottomline

Though numbers are always subject to change, the Calgary Journal estimates spectators would pay roughly $375-400 CAD in 2026 to attend a handful of events and the opening ceremony.

Editor's note: Prices in this story have not been adjusted for inflation.

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Editor: Paul McAleer | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This story is part of Hindsight 2026, a joint project between the Sprawl and the Calgary Journal. We’re digging into past Olympics to evaluate whether a 2026 Winter Games in Calgary would help or hinder our city.