2026 World Cup games to cost Vancouver up to $581M: province

B.C.’s Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport expects the 2026 World Cup in Vancouver to run up about a half-billion-dollar tab — more than double earlier projections.

Starting in June 2026, Vancouver will host seven World Cup matches at B.C. Place, in the heart of downtown. Vancouver is one of 16 host cities throughout North America. 

In January 2023, the province figured it would cost about $230 million, but at the time, Vancouver was expected to host just five games. The province now expects costs could be anywhere from $483 million to $581 million.

Earlier this year, the City of Toronto estimated its cost would be $380 million — a massive jump from its original $45 million estimate when the city first pitched the games in 2018. 

Opposition B.C. United House Leader Todd Stone raised concerns about the steep increase in estimated costs. 

“We’re going to continue to press the government to understand what accounts for that cost escalation,” he told reporters Tuesday. 

Stone said he wants to see what the agreements between the province and FIFA include, and claimed that Premier David Eby previously promised to make those agreements public. 

“Transparency is never the wrong thing to ensure is in place,” he said.

B.C.’s provincial government said costs will be offset by a $116 million contribution from the federal government, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue as a direct result from the event. 

It’s unclear how the remainder of the bill will be split up between the province and City of Vancouver. Coun. Rebecca Bligh said “all of the partners involved are working out those estimated costs for the events.”

“We understand that taxpayers will want to know where that money is, and we’ll make sure that that process is very transparent when it comes to light,” Bligh said.

Vancouver Coun. Rebecca Bligh says the distribution of costs between the City of Vancouver, province and other stakeholders hasn’t yet been finalized. (Shawn Foss/CBC)

Destination Vancouver president and CEO Royce Chwin described the long-term economic impact of the World Cup in Vancouver as “incalculable.”

“It further polishes Vancouver’s reputation as a global destination,” he said in a press release.

The province suggests that hosting the games in 2026 will result in a million overnight visitors to the city between 2026 and 2031, well after the tournament has ended, and $1 billion in additional visitor spending. 

The province said it will be investing in renovations and improvements to B.C. Place that will improve accessibility, which will help with other events at the stadium in years to come.

Bligh said very little infrastructure will need to be built in Vancouver for the World Cup as the city already has a 54,000-seat stadium and a transit system in place. 

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