B.C. Place Stadium 2026 FIFA show cost spiral


World Cup bill much higher for British Columbia Image: BC Place Stadium, Bobanny, Public Domain

The cost to host the seven World Cup 2026 soccer games at the B.C. Place Stadium in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, will be between $483 million and $581 million, the Provincial Government announced recently – double the initial estimate.

‘TIMES COLONIST’ stated that the original cost estimate in 2022 – after the province reversed its 2018 decision not to pursue hosting the World Cup – was $240 million to $260 million.

The 2026 FIFA World Cup™, marketed as the FIFA World Cup 26, will be the 23rd FIFA World Cup™, the quadrennial international men’s soccer championship contested by the national teams of the member-associations of FIFA. The tournament will take place from June 11th-July 19th, 2026. It will be hosted by United States, Mexico and Canada.

The 54,500-capacity BC Place is a multipurpose stadium in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Located at the North side of the False Creek, it is owned and operated by the BC Pavilion Corporation, a Crown Corporation of the province.

‘TIMES COLONIST’ quoted Lana Popham, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, and Sport in the British Columbia (BC) Legislature as stating, “When we got the initial numbers, it was before we had a full understanding of the requirements. We didn’t know how many games we were going to get. A lot of things have changed since that original estimate.”

Popham said the province is now confident its current estimate is accurate.

“We believe the taxpayers will be getting the most for that money,” she said, noting that the World Cup is expected to attract 3.5 billion viewers.

Added Popham, “There’s going to be a lot of eyes on B.C. This is an experience that is once-in-a-lifetime for British Columbia.”

Costs are expected to be offset by $383 million to $436 million in estimated revenues and recoveries, the province said. It has not revealed how exactly costs will be split between the province and the City of Vancouver.

The Federal Government is contributing $116 million toward hosting the seven games at the B.C. Place. There will be five group-stage games in Vancouver, including two featuring Canada, and knockout games starting with the Round of 32 and Round of 16.

Commented Carla Qualtrough, Federal Minister of Sport and Physical Activity, “FIFA 2026 will unite our country like nothing else can. Canadians from coast to coast to coast will be cheering on Team Canada as well as teams from all over the world. It will inspire our kids to dream big.”

Popham, who represents Saanich South (a provincial electoral district for the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia), said she envisions impacts well beyond just downtown Vancouver, with big-screen watch parties across the province – “I can see B.C. communities competing for who has the best fan fests. We are starting on conversations now with the communities about what that could look like for them.”

Greater Victoria was among 52 training-base options across the continent presented to FIFA in the official bid book put forward by the US/Canada/Mexico United Bid, which in 2018 won the right to host the 2026 World Cup.

Popham said the province doesn’t yet have information on where the training camps will be, “but there’s a lot of work that’s being done on them. We should be able to have locations over the next few months”.

Keith Wells, Executive Director of the Greater Victoria Sport Tourism Commission, said he’s waiting to learn more from the province.

Toronto is the other Canadian Host City for World Cup 2026, hosting the other six games of Canada’s 13 of the 104 games that will be played.

The US host venues are the 68,740-capacity Lumen Field in Seattle, Washington, along with San Francisco, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, and New York/New Jersey.

The latter will host the final at the 82,500-capacity MetLife Stadium. The Mexican host venues are the famed 83,264-capacity Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, Mexico, and stadiums in Monterrey and Guadalajara.

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