Watching the opening matches of the 2018 World Cup in Russia has been like dumping a giant bag of salt in to a fresh wound. Vancouver was not part of the 2026 World Cup bid and now that Canada will officially host part of the single greatest sports tourney on Earth, the sting is almost unbearable.
To investigate further, we spoke with BC NDP Parliamentary Secretary of Sport Ravi Kahlon about where the negotiations went wrong and why we’re on the outside looking in.
Exact facts and figures still have not been disclosed regarding just how much FIFA was looking for from the province. What Ravi did confirm to us, though, is that the NDP “didn’t say no”, but FIFA was just a little too coy with its demands (at 7:45 of video & podcast).
So, on the one hand, FIFA could’ve asked for the world in return and if that is the case, perhaps the BC NDP made the right move for tax payers (maybe). Ravi did also mention that a 1.5 kilometre radius needed to be secured two weeks prior and after the event surrounding BC Place and all practice facilities. That could be an irritant for traffic flow and residents, but we would still get to host the World Cup.
By diving deeper and looking at some of the numbers disclosed by other Canadian host cities, it becomes pretty obvious that we missed the boat. Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante believes the city expects to spend $150 million total to host. Meanwhile, Edmonton expects to pay between $35 and $55 million to host their split of the 10 Canadian games.
So what did Vancouver stand to lose? Could the costs have really been that blindingly high? Looking back at the 2015 Women’s World Cup as a case study, the city brought in almost $50 million more than they originally expected. Given, this was for hosting nine matches and the final rather than a four city ten-game split. None the less, Vancouver still brought in $82.9 million in economic activity.
Aside from the dough, the three bigger incentives for Vancouverites were the following:
I know it’s shocking to hear, but yes there are seats above the sails hanging high above every Whitecaps and BC Lions game. Perhaps one day we’ll get to see them for something other than a Taylor Swift concert.
Tune in next week because our investigation isn’t over. We’re not sleeping until we find out what the numbers were that sent FIFA packing.
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