New documents show that if a joint-country bid to host the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup is successful, Edmonton could host up to four matches — two more than what was in the initial plan.
“There are a few more key decision points — we’re continuing to talk with the province — but the chance to bring four games here — both the televised coverage as well as 200,000 fans across several games — that would be a huge economic boost and brand builder for the city,” Mayor Don Iveson said.
The joint bid to host the event is dubbed United 2026 and includes Canada, Mexico and the United States.
Details of the bid are laid out in a 530-page document outlining how the three countries would host the multi-billion dollar event.
Since Vancouver has dropped out, either Toronto, Montreal or Edmonton will host four games if the bid is selected. The other two cities would get three matches each.
Edmonton could have a leg up to host the most matches because Commonwealth Stadium has the largest outdoor stadium capacity in Canada.
However, if the bid is chosen, the nearly 40-year-old building would need some major upgrades.
“Everything from washrooms to, yes, there is a turf issue,” Iveson said. “But we are hopeful that most of the investments that would be required — potentially a second jumbo screen, for example — those would be things that would be legacies for all of the other users in the long-term of the stadium.”
Commonwealth wouldn’t be the only facility to receive some improvements.
“There are requirements around training facilities which could lead to some upgrades and may even solve the mid-sized stadium question for us,” Iveson said.
“I think we can be quite creative at this point as we continue to evaluate what the pros and cons would be, but overall the pros, particularly with the prospect of four games, look really, really solid.”
FIFA will announce the winner of the Men’s World Cup bid on June 13.
During a January meeting, city councillors heard hosting part of the event could cost between $35 million and $55 million. But there would be a big payoff.
“The preliminary estimates of the economic spinoff are around US$170 million to the host city,” Councillor Tim Cartmell said on Jan. 14.