B.C.’s estimated FIFA costs double

B.C. will be on the hook for much more than initially thought when it comes to hosting seven FIFA World Cup 2026 games.

The province said Tuesday the gross core cost is now more than double the initial estimate, rising to between $483 million and $581 million, from between $240 million and $260 million in June 2022.

Pressure has been mounting for the province and city to release the latest cost estimates after it was revealed Vancouver was hosting two more games than initially planned.

The government says while costs are increasing, so too are estimated revenues and recoveries.

According to the province, B.C. is getting $116 million in direct funding from the federal government. An additional $230 million in revenue is anticipated from things like the major events municipal and regional district tax introduced by Vancouver in 2023, with another up to $90 million expected from other revenue sources.

With all these factors considered, the B.C. government says the “net core cost of seven” games is expected to be between $100 million and $145 million.

“This does not take into account potential additional provincial tax revenues as identified in the Province’s updated estimates of economic impact benefits, which are projected to be $224 million,” the provincial government explained.

“Marquee sporting events like the FIFA World Cup 26 have the power to inspire people to get involved in sport, amplify community spirit and put a spotlight on our incredible province,” said Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport Lana Popham. “We are excited to welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors to Vancouver and British Columbia during the World Cup to celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with us, boost our tourism sector and economy and help secure lasting benefits for the people of B.C.”

In addition to the anticipated revenue and recoveries from the event itself, the province says the economic benefits of hosting the matches could translate into more than $1 billion in additional visitor spending between 2026 and 2031.

“In just two short years, Vancouver will welcome the biggest event in the world,” said Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim. “Hosting FIFA World Cup 26 Vancouver will boost Vancouver’s hospitality and entertainment industries, transform our city and make us a world-class destination for tourism and major event hosting for decades to come.”

Host Nations look forward to benefits of FIFA World Cup

The government says it continues to work with the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

“Soccer is an important sport to Musqueam and we know that this tournament will inspire a new generation of Musqueam soccer players and fans alike,” said Musqueam Nation Chief Wayne Sparrow. “We look forward to welcoming the world to our Coast Salish lands and contributing to this successful event that has the power to lift people up and bring people together.”

Squamish First Nation spokesperson Sxwíxwtn Wilson Williams says the international sporting event presents a big opportunity locally.

“We are excited that this global event has the potential to benefit all of our collective communities and we look forward to the lasting positive legacies that will come from this tournament,” Williams explained.

“We believe in the power of sport and how it can inspire and lift up all of our people. In the spirit of true reconciliation, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation looks forward to working closely with its partners to realize the great potential this event has for all of our people, our lands, and our communities,” added Chief Jen Thomas of Tsleil-Waututh Nation.

The seven games are set to be played at BC Place, which will undergo renovations and improvements in the lead-up to the World Cup.