Could World Cup soccer be coming to Toronto?
Mayor John Tory said that he’s all for the city putting forth a bid to be one of the host cities for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
“It’s a chance for us to get part of the greatest sports show on earth, I think, and I think a lot of people in Toronto would be happy about that,” Mayor Tory told Breakfast Television on Monday.
The bid would be part of a joint effort by national soccer associations in Canada, United States and Mexico. If successful, Toronto would host a handful of games.
“To me, this is one of those (events) where we’d have huge attention paid to Toronto,” Tory said.
Tory said because the bid is a collaboration, the city wouldn’t end up footing the whole bill.
“Toronto is one of the three Canadian cities that have been approved to be part of the Canadian part of this bid, so we get four or five games, and we’d have to invest very little money in order to put it on. We’d just have some expansion of the seating at BMO Field — which we did for the hockey last year,” Tory explained.
According to a release from the mayor’s office, City staff estimate it would cost between $30 million to $45 million to co-host the World Cup. However, those costs are expected to be shared between all three levels of government.
The FIFA World Cup is one of the world’s most watched sporting events, reaching an audience of 3.2 billion people for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
In previous years, the city has made certain concessions to bars looking to accommodate the influx of soccer fans during World Cup — including extending last call and allowing bars to open early to let fans check out those early morning matches.
This would be the third international sporting event the city has played host to in recent years. In 2015, Toronto hosted the PanAm and Parapan Am Games and this summer thousands flocked to the city for the Invictus Games — and, of course, to catch a glimpse of Prince Harry and his now fiance, Meghan Markle.