Benefits of Toronto hosting World Cup games outweigh the costs, Mayor Tory says

June 14, 2018 12:13 AM

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There will also be significant costs associated with security for the event, but Tory said the city is counting on the partnerships with other governments to make that happen.

“They have at their disposal not only the financial resources but, more importantly, the policing and security resources to make sure we do that well,” he said.

Tory pointed to the city’s recent experience hosting the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games in 2015 and the Invictus Games in 2017 as blueprints for making the proper arrangements for the World Cup, though he expects the 2026 tournament to be narrower in scope than the Pan Am Games, given the tournament will be confined to a single principle venue, BMO Field, and a few smaller sites for practices.

The stadium will also get an upgrade for the World Cup, with the capacity growing from about 15,000 seats to 45,000 thanks to temporary stands in the north and south end, like the setup for last year’s MLS Cup final and the NHL’s Centennial Classic in 2016.

“Right now the plan that we submitted was for temporary (seats), which meet the FIFA standards but … as we continue to grow, it may be that we decide that we make them permanent,” Toronto FC president Bill Manning said. “That is something over the next eight years that we’ll look at from a (Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment) standpoint, an Exhibition Place standpoint.”

Tory said the city has yet to invest any money in the venture. His involvement so far adds up to phone calls, letters and meetings with FIFA officials to sell them on Toronto.

At the moment, he has no concrete estimate on the returns he expects the World Cup will bring to the city.

“The more Toronto gets put on the map, the more people who are looking for a place to invest in North America pick Toronto because they think about Toronto,” he said. “We think everybody knows about Toronto, we think everybody spends half their time thinking about Toronto. They don’t. We have to make them think about Toronto.”

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