Goal! B.C. businesses cheer addition of more games to 2026 World Cup

Football fans and businesses in Vancouver are delighted with the news that FIFA has approved an extended format for the 2026 Men’s World Cup.

FIFA confirmed Tuesday that the number of participating countries in the tournament will be expanded from 32 to 48. There will be 24 more matches for a total of 104 matches and the event will last 39 days.

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What wasn’t clear on Tuesday was whether the expanded format meant additional games in Canada or Vancouver.

The city has been guaranteed to host at least five games, and the state said on Tuesday it is waiting for more information on what the change means.

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However, local businesses were already celebrating the expansion of the tournament, though it was unclear if BC Place would host more than six matches.

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Doug Meeker, general manager of Vancouver’s Butcher and Brock Pub, said his business was packed even at odd hours in the middle of the night, as all the 2022 World Cup games in Qatar will be televised. .

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He said adding more games would only mean a bigger opportunity for bars and restaurants to take advantage of the upcoming tournament.

“Based on recent attendance figures, it will only double. Canada will see a similar influx of tourists,” Meeker said.

“It’s an exciting time. Four years is a little bit away, but we’re already ready.”

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According to Jeff Guignard, executive director of the Alliance of BC Licensees, the expansion also provides another opportunity for the hospitality industry to make up for losses it is still recovering from during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“Adding these additional games to our schedule means we have more opportunities to put some bads in our seats and earn some income in the sectors hit hardest by the pandemic,” he said. said.

“It’s four years away, but we have a lot of plans to host these games in Vancouver and make sure we do all the programming needed for it.”

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Giggard said there’s not much that individual businesses can do at this stage, but states and cities can lay the groundwork by promoting events and preparing cities for the influx of tourists.

“People come out in droves for this stuff,” he said.

“This kind of event can have a lasting impact on our economy and our city. You can even see them go to sports.”

Destination BC and BC Stats estimate that hosting will bring in over $1 billion in new tourism revenue during the game and over five years after.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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