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Events

British Columbia expects 2026 World Cup bill to double to half a billion dollars

BC Place, Vancouver

Featured image credit: Brayden Law on Unsplash

The Canadian province of British Columbia is expecting the bill for staging 2026 FIFA World Cup games to be double its original estimate.

British Columbia’s provincial government now expects to spend between C$483m and C$581m ($420m) on hosting seven games at Vancouver’s B.C. Place Stadium in two years’ time. That compares to a range of just $240m-$260m in its initial assessment in 2022.

Figures released by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport on Tuesday show that revenues of up to $436m could be generated in the province by the tournament. The federal government is also contributing $116m towards the games at B.C. Place.

“When we got the initial numbers, it was before we had a full understanding of the requirements,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, in a media briefing, as reported by the Times Colonist newspaper.

“We didn’t know how many games we were going to get. A lot of things have changed since that original estimate.”

BC taxpayers ARE getting value for money

While the event will prove costly for the region, Popham said hosting the World Cup should be seen in a wider context.

“We believe taxpayers will be getting the most for that money,” she added. “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.”

Vancouver will host five group-stage matches, including two featuring Canada, as well as two knockout games. Toronto is the other Canadian host city for World Cup 2026, and will stage six matches.

British Columbia could also benefit if it is selected as a training base for any of the 48 participating nations. 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 and Mexico, which in 2018 jointly won the right to host the 2026 World Cup.

British Columbia withdrew from the bid process in 2018 but re-entered in 2022. Vancouver was selected as one of 16 host cities in 2022, along with three from Mexico and 11 from the US.  

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