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Calgary Stampede asks council for financial changes due to COVID 19

The Calgary Stampede suffered in 2020 due to COVID-19 and wants the city to make financial changes to successfully run in the future.

Calgary Exhibition and Stampede Ltd. (CES) wants the city to consider amendments to certain credit facilities to ensure they remain in good standing.

In 2020, Stampede was cancelled for the first time in nearly a century due to COVID-19. This had a significant financial impact on CES’s operations. The actual 10-day Stampede, along with related sponsorships, account for approximately 62 per cent of CES’s operating income.

“Despite a positive 2019 results, fiscal year 2020 has been a very challenging year for Stampede,” said city administration.

“But they have actively managed operations, capital expenditures and many relationships.”

According to the report, 2019 operating results were fully satisfactory, and even better than 2018.

The 2019 attendance was Stampede’s second-largest attendance of all time with 1.28 million. Annual attendance has been trending positively for the past six years.

The Calgary Stampede went from a very good start from the trade show season in February to the loss of 1,200 events for the foreseeable future, according to information provided at the committee meeting.

Before COVID-19, CES complied with all the covenants in credit agreements. It proactively manages its operations and capital expenditures, according to the summary.

It said it is important for the city to cooperatively assist CES with managing the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Given that there was no Stampede this year, there will be a challenge on meeting the debt coverage ratios,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

The report said that CES is an important organization for Calgary and surrounding areas for social, cultural, economic and historic reasons.

The specifics on the credit arrangements were discussed in camera.