PARIS: The 2030 Commonwealth Games were tipped to be a glorious celebration of the competition’s centenary in Canada, the country which hosted the inaugural edition of the multi-sport quadrennial event a century ago. But the future of the Games was thrown into doubt on Thursday when the province of Alberta withdrew its support for a bid, dealing another blow to the embattled Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF). The announcement came weeks after Australian state Victoria pulled out of hosting the 2026 Games due to budget blowouts, while Hamilton, Ontario, which hosted the inaugural Games in 1930, suspended its bid earlier this year. The withdrawals could have serious implications for the Games, experts said. “I think it’s a devastating blow. It really raises very serious questions about the short-term and the long-term sustainability of these Games,” Australian sports historian Matthew Klugman said. Victoria withdrew due to projected cost overruns, with Commonwealth Sport Canada saying it believed the Australian state’s decision had prompted Alberta’s pullout. “The strongest reason (for the withdrawals) by far is financial. The expense to host a Commonwealth Games in any country is significant,” Cary Kaplan, president of Canadian marketing firm Cosmos Sports & Entertainment, said. “Emerging from COVID … supporting these events, regionally or nationally, is harder than ever financially, which is a shame. There is less of an appetite among citizens for large international sporting events, and politicians are cognizant of that.” Busy calendar: With the global sports calendar bursting at the seams, organisers are battling for a share of the market, with longer events struggling to maintain an audience over several days. Even continental multi-sports events that are also Olympic qualifiers, such as the European Games, face stiff competition. The Commonwealth Games’ TV rights, the main driver of income for international sports events, pale in comparison with the soccer World Cup and the Olympics, leaving national and local governments facing budget deficits. Organisers touted the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games as an “incredibly successful” event, with over 1.4 million tickets sold — but that figure is far surpassed by the Paris Olympics, which expects to sell close to 10 million tickets. The Games’ colonial origins have also attracted criticism in recent years, and with the death of Queen Elizabeth, there is a feeling the event have run its course. Scrapping the Games altogether may not be the best path forward, though, because it is still important for smaller nations.