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Hosting 6 FIFA World Cup matches estimated to cost Toronto nearly $380M, new report finds

The cost of hosting one of the biggest sports tournaments in the world in Toronto is now projected to be nearly $80 more than initially thought, according to a new city report.  

Toronto was selected to host a total of six World Cup 2026 matches including the opening FIFA men’s match. While the city has previously said the economic boost as a result of the matches will rake in a significant amount of money, cost projections are continuing to rise. 

When Toronto first pitched the games in 2018, a city report estimated the cost at between $30 million and $45 million. Later in 2022, those cost projections would balloon to about $300 million. But in a report released Monday, city staff estimate the hit to taxpayers will run about $380 million.

The city expects to see an economic boost of roughly $392 million in GDP for Toronto — about $1 million less than previous projections — and an additional $456 million for Ontario, according to the report. That will amount to tax revenues totalling nearly $119 million for Toronto and roughly $139 million for the province. The economic activity figures are based off of hosting five games, the report notes, and could continue to change.

“Toronto’s hosting of the FWC26 will bring positive economic and cultural benefits for the city, particularly in the tourism, hospitality, and entertainment sectors,” the report said.

“City staff are actively assessing and managing all costs, including identifying opportunities for cost mitigation.”

The latest figures come two weeks after the cash-strapped city passed its 2024 budget, which included an operating budget of $17.1 billion and a 2024-2033 capital budget and plan of $49.8 billion. 

The report will be taken up by the city’s executive committee Thursday, before heading to city council for consideration on March 20.

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