What is a venue cluster and how is it beneficial for a prospective Olympic Games?
When assessing what a potential Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (OPWG) could look like for Calgary, the idea of venue clusters became evident as an effective and beneficial approach to developing a facilities plan. Venue clustering is the concept of grouping competition and/or non-competition event venues together in close vicinity in order to maximize benefits, cost savings and the overall event experience.
Similar to the Calgary Stampede, guests are able to enter the grounds and see all the Stampede has to offer in one space. Everything from the rodeo grounds and the Grandstand, to the midway, the agricultural centre and the Saddledome are all easily accessed at Stampede Park. Although an OPWG is a much larger scale event than the Stampede, the concept for the area is similar. The park provides a celebratory space that inflicts Olympic spirit through the hosting of multiple kinds of events. Kicking the Games off with an accessible opening ceremony, 16 days of events such as hockey, figure skating and speed skating held in venues within the park, open-air medal ceremonies, internationally connected press and broadcast centres and an inspiring closing ceremony. Stampede Park represents a cluster that is multi-purpose and brings together a community in celebration of sport and culture.
Security costs are reduced as the grouping of venues allows for security resources to be centralized and for logistics and operations to be streamlined. Venue clusters also allow for operational efficiencies to be found and leveraged across facilities resulting in reduced costs. Locating several venues in one space creates the opportunity to combine service functions across venues, reducing overall space and temporary infrastructure needs, lowering staffing and volunteer costs. With several event venues in one place, public transportation can also be leveraged to bring attendees to multiple venues, and the influx of passengers on routes can be anticipated and planned for.
A prospective 2026 Games would utilize venue clusters around Calgary and the surrounding areas that centralize around existing sport facilities. These venues would receive upgrades to bring them up to current Olympic and Paralympic Games standards, and planners would ensure that all modifications were made with an eye to future uses for the community, as well as for a successful Games.
Through the use of venue clusters, Calgary is able to demonstrate how major international multi-sport events could be staged and delivered in areas throughout the city and Bow Valley Corridor, which expands our hosting capacity. It showcases different spaces that are available for communities to come together and celebrate our rich backgrounds and culture on a global stage.