Cost estimates for Toronto to host 5 World Cup matches go up: city staff

Weeks after Toronto was confirmed as a host city for the 2026 World Cup, municipal staff have increased their estimate of how much hosting the tournament will cost.

In a staff report that will be considered by Toronto’s executive committee on Tuesday, the capital and operating costs prediction for hosting five World Cup games has increased from $290 million to $300 million.

City said they staff hope to see the federal and provincial governments share the cost of hosting, though no commitments have yet been made.

The 3.4 per cent increase since the last estimate in April is as a result of “recent escalation in inflation rates,” the report said.

Toronto, along with Vancouver, was selected as Canadian host city for the 2026 World Cup at an event on June 16.

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The two cities, along with 14 other cities across the United States and Mexico, will host matches for the 48-team soccer tournament.

A total of 80 games will take place with 10 matches held in Canada.

The qualification process for the 2026 World Cup has not been decided yet but Canada could automatically qualify as a host nation.

Qatar has automatically qualified to compete at the 2022 World Cup.

Click to play video: 'Toronto, Vancouver to host games for 2026 FIFA World Cup'
Toronto, Vancouver to host games for 2026 FIFA World Cup

The benefits of hosting would also be significant, an April staff report said.

Staff estimated that hosting five matches would generate $307 million in GDP and create 3,300 jobs.

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The events would attract around 174,000 overnight visitors and book out 292,000 room nights. This would generate roughly $3.5 million in municipal accommodation tax revenue, staff said.

The staff report due to be considered Tuesday sets out a plan to hire nine temporary staff positions beginning in August to oversee “programme planning and delivery.”

The agreements Toronto has signed as part of the bid process commit it to providing BMO Field as a venue and organizing a 34-day FIFA FanFest.

BMO Field will require upgrades worth around $25 million, while Sunnybrook Park and Centennial Park, which could be used for training, will need $15 million in upgrades, the report said.

The World Cup will also require Toronto FC and the Toronto Argonauts, both based at BMO Field, to relocate for “at least six weeks,” according to staff.

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