The $1.4B in Calgary’s New Arena Deal That No One Is Talking About.

Update July 31st, 2019: The city has officially approved the Event Centre deal! We’re thrilled the complex is moving forward – we can focus on bringing amazing talent to the city, driving the economy, and making Calgary a first-class arts & entertainment hub.

We’d also like to thank the many thousands of you who reached out to offer support, shared our concerns with your friends and colleagues, contacted your councillor, or just told us you enjoyed our service. We're proud to be working hard for Calgary!

We’re looking forward to continuing our discussions with the city and the CSEC and seeing the plans for a world-leading entertainment space.

Calgary is long overdue for a new Event Centre. But the current deal—which some economists have pinned as a $47M loss—has Calgarians in a frenzy. However, the calculation didn’t consider a ~$1.4 billion revenue stream that could more than offset the loss.

Source: Ticketmaster website, July 25, 2019

If US-based Ticketmaster continues to do ticketing for the new Event Centre, they stand to receive $1.4B over 35 years. In one egregious example, Ticketmaster is charging 35% in fees on General Admission tickets for the Eric Church concert in September. With a conservative estimation of a 20% ticketing fee surcharge on events at the new arena, only 2% of the ticketing fees would make it back to the City of Calgary with Ticketmaster taking the remaining 18%. Ticketmaster & LiveNation walk away with over a billion dollars while Calgary pockets a $155M over 35 years. Calgarians are paying for the new facility in fees and they’re being sent straight to the US instead of the local economy. There’s still time to set this right.                                               

Calgary-based ticketing company Showpass will commit an additional portion of the ticketing fees from the arena BACK to the city of Calgary—which would help cover the City’s proposed $275M investment.

“There’s an easy way to turn this around. On the estimated $1.4B in fees over 35 years, an agreement with Showpass can make this into a more lucrative investment for the city,” said Lucas McCarthy, CEO of Showpass. “This could also free up capital for the city that can cover unexpected costs or be reallocated back into emergency services, while generating hundreds of  jobs and occupying Calgary’s vacant office space.”

So Calgary, let’s be heard before the decision is made. Let’s keep the ticketing fees in the community and the City of Calgary, and not give them to the company who admittedly  gouged ticket buyers by diverting tickets straight to their resale sites and just got sued by the Canadian government

Before Friday at noon, make sure your voice is heard. Contact your city councillors, your friends and network to let them know we can keep revenues in Calgary. Let’s make sure that Calgarians are the biggest winners.


Showpass is a leading independent ticketing platform in Canada. With Showpass, event-goers can find the latest events, buy tickets and check in quickly, right from their phone. Thousands of event organizers like the Shaw Charity Classic, the Edmonton Expo, Alberta Beer Festival, the CWHL and more choose Showpass’ ticketing app so they can sell more tickets, merchandise and manage everything from sales, check-ins, guest lists, stats and more from the palm of their hand. Headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Showpass serves an ever expanding variety of organizers including festivals, venues, universities and trade shows. To find out more, visit

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