Ward: All 

Toronto's Bid to Participate in the FIFA World Cup 2026

Committee Recommendations

The Executive Committee recommends that:


1. City Council direct the Mayor and the City Manager to accept the nomination of Toronto as a 2026 World Cup Host City should it be awarded by FIFA, to enter into associated agreements, and to continue to negotiate a multi-party agreement with the Governments of Ontario and Canada and with Canada Soccer reflecting the key elements outlined in this staff report and to the satisfaction of the Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer and the City Solicitor.


2. City Council direct the City Manager to report back to the June 8, 2022 Executive Committee on the status of negotiations with the Governments of Ontario and Canada and Canada Soccer; should Toronto be selected by FIFA as a host city for the 2026 World Cup, the report back should include updated cost estimates for the City of Toronto and commitments from other government partners.


3. City Council direct the City Manager to report back to the June 8, 2022 Executive Committee on plans to create a secretariat to coordinate the City of Toronto's planning for the 2026 World Cup, to be established by the third quarter of 2022. Plans should include a detailed implementation plan, additional temporary staffing requirements and associated budget, including necessary in-year budget adjustment a plan for initial resources to be drawn from funding available in the Major Special Events Reserve Fund in 2022.

(March 16, 2022) Report from the City Manager

The FIFA Men's World Cup (hereinafter referred to as "World Cup") is the world's most watched sporting event, with a global viewership of four billion people for the entire competition and upwards of 200 million for each match. Overseen by the International Federation of Football Association (FIFA), the World Cup is held every four years and generates significant economic and cultural benefits for host cities. In 2018, the 2026 World Cup was awarded to a joint bid by Canada, Mexico and the United States, with 80 matches to be staged across 16 cities in North America, of which 10 matches are expected to be in Canada. In January 2018, City Council endorsed Toronto's participation in the bid to be a host city, with 23 North American cities competing to be part of the ultimate 16 host cities. The selection process is projected to conclude in May 2022, and it is anticipated that Toronto would host five matches, if selected.


This report provides an update on the bidding process, presents the potential financial implications for the City, outlines the risks and opportunities, and recommends that Toronto accepts the host city nomination, should it be successful, based on the substantial benefits of being a host city. In addition, it recommends the creation of a 2026 World Cup Secretariat reporting to the Deputy City Manager, Community and Social Services, dedicated to coordinating the City of Toronto’s participation, and a governance structure to be established for the successful planning and execution of the 2026 World Cup in Toronto. The governance structure will include an Indigenous Table and a Community Champions Table for input from Indigenous, Black and equity-deserving communities as well as representatives from amateur sport, the business and cultural sectors and local neighbourhoods.


Hosting part of the 2026 World Cup will bring global media attention and could result in positive economic and cultural impacts for the city, while supporting recovery and rebuild efforts. Projected benefits of hosting five matches in Toronto include an estimated $307 million dollars of GDP impact, 3,300 jobs and 174,000 overnight visitors paying for over 292,000 room nights with projected Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) revenues of $3.5 million. Economic activity spurred by the event will sustain recovery in hard hit sectors, such as tourism, hospitality and entertainment. Toronto has demonstrated its ability to plan and deliver major FIFA competitions in the past and has successfully hosted other major sports events such the Pan American/Parapan American Games in 2015. Legacies from the World Cup will be developed with a view towards civic engagement, improved recreational facilities, and environmental sustainability.


Planning for Toronto's potential participation in the 2026 World Cup has been proceeding well under City leadership with other key stakeholders. However, there are uncertainties that will remain until after the announcement of host cities by FIFA, expected by the end of May 2022. Notably, the federal government has indicated that a decision on financial support, a requirement of the City's participation in the World Cup under Council direction EX30.14 (2018), may only be made once a national safety and security concept has been completed to inform the federal essential services component of the total event cost. Full security costing is not likely to be available until late 2022. In the interim, and to inform Toronto's business plan and budget, City staff have worked with the Toronto Police Service, Toronto Fire, Toronto Paramedics Service and the Office of Emergency Management to build an estimate of local safety and security expenses in the range of $32.30 million cash plus $8 million value-in-kind (VIK).


Overall, the operations and capital costs to be incurred locally in Toronto are projected to be approximately $290 million by 2026, including a 10 percent contingency. In keeping with the approach to major events planning in Canada, the Governments of Canada and Ontario are being asked to cover two-thirds of this amount or an approximate total of $177 million. In addition, the cost of hosting the World Cup will be also partially offset through access to commercial rights and related revenue opportunities delegated by FIFA to event organizers, such as the City of Toronto. As some of the costs do not flow through City divisions and agencies, the cost for the City of Toronto, prior to any further offsets including earned revenue sources from fees, commercial sponsorship and local partnerships, is projected to be up to $73.8 million plus $20 million in value-in-kind, mostly in 2025 and 2026.


The Council decision in 2018 authorized the City Manager to sign three formal FIFA Bid Agreements including the Host City Agreement, the Stadium Agreement, as the owner of BMO Field, and Training Site Agreements related to City parks and recreational facilities. One Training Site Agreement was signed by MLSE as the owner/operator of BMO Training Centre relating to FIFA's specifications for a competition-ready venue and the Airport Agreement was signed by the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) to ensure reliable access of event participants.


The agreements signed to date commit the City to a set of requirements to support the 2026 FIFA World Cup, including providing BMO Stadium, training sites, a 34 day FIFA FanFest, and enhanced City services such as transportation and local safety and security. The City was also advised in March 2022 that FIFA seeks to secure a contractual addendum to the agreements signed by the City in 2018, relating to upgrades and rental costs for the stadium. Signing the contractual addendum has been identified by FIFA as mandatory to remain in contention for host city selection.


Although Toronto could be named a host city without full certainty on funding, current indications from the provincial and federal governments and past experience for major events have led staff to be confident that suitable funding arrangements, as sought by City Council, will be secured. This report seeks the approval of City Council for the City of Toronto to accept a nomination from FIFA as a Host City for the World Cup in 2026,  the establishment of a 2026 World Cup Secretariat, and the development of plans for the City of Toronto to budget for up to $73.8 million in contributions and $20 million in value-in-kind services as a matching commitment to other government funds within an overall project cost projected to be $290 million for the delivery of the World Cup in Toronto in 2026.

Background Information
(March 16, 2022) Revised Report and Attachments 1 and 2 from the City Manager on Update on Toronto's Bid to Participate in the FIFA World Cup 2026

1 - Motion to Adopt Item moved by Councillor Ana Bail„o (Carried)