Thursday June 16, 2022 | VANCOUVER ISLAND, BC
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
Vancouver’s BC Place and Toronto’s BMO Field will host games during the 2026 World Cup, FIFA announced today.
The high-profile soccer tournament will take place across Canada, the United States and Mexico.
In addition to Toronto and Vancouver, 11 American regions and three Mexican sites were selected.
Edmonton not chosen:
One other Canadian city — Edmonton — was in the running, but was not selected. It’s possible that travel distance was a consideration (Vancouver and Toronto are closer to the USA), as in paring down travel time as much as possible between match locations.
“We advocated fiercely, we had our provincial and federal government partners on board to provide funding, and most of all, we had the support of Edmontonians,” Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi wrote in a statement.
Announcement made news around the globe:
FIFA is the largest sporting event in the world. News about the locations for the three-country 2026 World Cup highlights Vancouver to a global profile.
Attending the announcement gathering in Vancouver were BC Tourism Minister Melanie Mark and BC Solicitor General (Deputy Premier) Mike Farnworth, as well as long-timer federal cabinet minister Carolyn Bennett.
48-game tournament / US & Mexico locations:
The American cities of Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, New York/New Jersey, and Mexico City, Monterrey and Guadalajara in Mexico will get games in the expanded 48-game tournament.
Montreal dropped out of Canada’s bid last August after the Quebec provincial government withdrew its support, citing cost overruns that would have been difficult to justify to taxpayers.
Cost to BC:
The BC Government is putting up $5 million to host the FIFA action at BC Place in Vancouver.
B.C. Place hosted nine games during the 2015 Women’s World Cup, including the final, which drew more than 50,000 fans, and Toronto hosted the Pan American Games in 2019. So there’s an important investment in tourism promotion for the city.
Both B.C. Place and BMO Field in Toronto will require upgrades ahead of the 2026 World Cup. Vancouver is set to install a grass playing surface and Toronto is expected to expand the stadium’s capacity to the FIFA minimum of 40,000. BC Place has a seating capacity of 54,500.
Good sport tourism for Vancouver Island:
Back in April when Vancouver was announced as a potential host city for FIFA 2026, Langford Mayor Stew Young said there will be side games at Starlight Stadium in Langford, here on Vancouver Island.
“Side games are likely,” Stew Young said today. “Especially once we’ve doubled the seats,” he added excitedly. The City of Langford is in the process of seeing a BC Hydro transmission tower on Langford Parkway relocated from alongside the Starlight Stadium, so that stadium seating can be expanded.
As well, the Canadian Premier League (CPL) will be launching a second BC team, to be based in Vancouver.
===== OTHER MEDIA POSTS JUNE 16, 2022:
Vancouver, Toronto among host cities for 2026 FIFA World Cup (Globe and Mail – June 16, 2022)
Edmonton won’t host 2026 World Cup matches as FIFA picks Toronto, Vancouver (CTV Edmonton – June 16, 2022)
Toronto, Vancouver to be Canadian host cities for FIFA World Cup 2026 (Toronto Star – June 16, 2022)
Soccer business: CPL Commissioner & CSB CEO rolled into one (February 9, 2022)