Vancouver’s comeback story is complete.
After withdrawing from consideration in 2018 only to return earlier this year, FIFA has chosen it as one of the 16 cities to host games during the World Cup in 2026.
Toronto was the other Canadian city selected, leaving third-bidder Edmonton on the outside looking in.
FIFA and the USA-Canada-Mexico bid team have not yet determined which of the 10 games taking place in Canada will be played in each city.
The 15 other cities include Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Guadalajara, Kansas City, Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, Monterrey, Mexico City, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, New York and New Jersey.
“British Columbia welcomes the world for FIFA World Cup 2026,” Premier John Horgan said in a news release. “We’re not hosting the largest ever World Cup just for kicks. British Columbians will enjoy an economic boost to the tourism and hospitality sectors that will be felt for years to come. We look forward to welcoming the global soccer community to our province.”
The cost to plan, stage and host the matches ranges from $240 million to $260 million, the release said, excluding any contributions from other levels of government and stadium and training site rentals.
BC Place will host the games in Vancouver, with a guarantee of a new grass playing surface. Other venues across the province will host training camps in the lead up to the summer event four years from now.
Back in 2018, Vancouver was dropped from the bid package after Premier John Horgan drew back from a provision that would have allowed FIFA to make changes to the agreement at any time, saying it could lead to unknown risks and costs for taxpayers.
But last summer, he said he was willing to re-consider hosting, with the tourism sector pummelled by the pandemic. It is unclear what concessions FIFA may have made to make hosting more appealing.
It is still unclear how much hosting the 2026 event will cost, as well as which other levels of government will be expected to contribute.
Destination BC and BC Stats estimate that hosting would bring in more than $1 billion in new tourism revenue during the games, as well as in the five years that follow.