Mayor John Tory wants to bring the 2026 FIFA World Cup to Toronto.
Tory endorsed on Monday a report by city staff recommending that council enter into agreements that would enable Toronto to co-host the international sporting event, widely considered the largest in the world by viewership and interest.
"Hosting the FIFA World Cup is a once in a generation opportunity to showcase Toronto to the world," Tory said in a news release.
National soccer associations of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico have organized a joint bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup in cities across North America. The joint bid is branded United 2026, and if successful, it would mark the first time that three countries host the World Cup.
Cost would be $30M to $45M
In its report, Toronto city staff estimate it would cost between $30 million to $45 million to co-host the World Cup, but it is expected that those costs would be shared between the city, province and federal government.
The mayor said in the news release that Toronto is ready to be one of many 2026 FIFA World Cup host cities because it successfully hosted the Pan American and Parapan American Games in 2015 and Invictus Games in 2017.
City staff say in the report that being a host would benefit Toronto greatly.
"Held every four years, the World Cup is recognized for generating significant economic, cultural and community benefits for its host cities and country, and increasing host cities' profiles on the world stage," the report says.
In the report, city staff are proposing that BMO Field at Exhibition Place would be the stadium for World Cup matches in Toronto but it would need extra seating.
A number of smaller soccer fields in Toronto could be used as training and practice facilities, the report says.
Toronto would be 1 of 4 Canadian cities to host
According to the report, Toronto has been named as one of four Canadian cities that could host the World Cup. The others are Vancouver, Edmonton and Montreal.
Twenty-eight cities in Mexico and the U.S. are also being considered.
Canada joined the bid in December, and if the countries are chosen, Canada and Mexico would get 10 games apiece and the U.S. would host the other 60.
If the bid is successful, Toronto would likely host three to five games.
In the report, staff note that security costs are unknown at this point and they recommend that council's support for the bid be made conditional on financial support from the federal and provincial governments, secured through cost-sharing agreements.
Proposal to be considered Wednesday
Soccer Canada had already listed Toronto as a potential candidate to host games should FIFA select United 2026 as the winning bid.
The proposal will be submitted to FIFA on March 16, 2018, and the bid winner will be announced at the FIFA Congress in Moscow on June 13, 2018.
The 2026 FIFA World Cup is expected to draw athletes from 48 countries at 80 matches over 30 days. Canada would automatically qualify for the tournament if it became a host nation, the city says.
The report is to be considered by the mayor's executive committee on Wednesday.