The beautiful game is coming to B.C. – and possibly to Gates Park.
FIFA Men’s World Cup matches are scheduled to be played in Vancouver for the first time in 2026, according to an announcement from the province Thursday.
“British Columbians will enjoy an economic boost to the tourism and hospitality sectors that will be felt for years to come,” Premier John Horgan stated in a press release, adding that B.C. would not be hosting, “just for kicks.”
The 80-match event is set to be jointly hosted by Canada, the United States and Mexico. The province has not yet confirmed how many games will be played in Vancouver.
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The total cost of hosting the World Cup is expected to range from $240 million to $260 million, according to an estimate from the province. The event could also help generate more than $1 billion in new revenue in the five years following the event, according to the release.
Port Coquitlam could host practices, exhibition games and more, according to Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West.
“We’re excited about the possibilities that open up for Port Coquitlam with Vancouver being named as one of the World Cup host cities,” the mayor wrote in an email. “We’ll be pursuing opportunities to bring this once in a lifetime experience close to home for our residents.”
Earlier this spring, Port Coquitlam announced plans to redevelop about 10 acres of Gates Park to add a new synthetic turf field.
Set to be complete in 2023, the field: “will enable the city to host matches and events related to high-level tournaments, such as Vancouver’s bid to host the 2026 World Cup,” according to an announcement from Port Coquitlam last April.
The $12.2 million project – which includes lighting, an enhanced boulevard, and a two-storey fieldhouse – is slated to cost the city $2.5 million with the province chipping in a $6.7 million grant. B.C. Soccer is set to contribute $2.5 million with another $500,000 coming from PoCo Soccer.
Local soccer groups are scheduled to have 80 percent of field time throughout the year.