Soccer field

This is what the Toronto soccer field will look like

The 2026 FIFA World Cup may be four years away, but the ball is already set for Toronto to prepare to host parts of this massive sporting event.

The International Football Association announced on Friday that Toronto will be one of two Canadian cities to host a handful of matches during the tournament, which will feature 48 teams for the first time and will also see matches played in the United States and in Mexico.

But there’s a lot of work to do between now and the summer tournament, including a massive expansion at BMO Field in Toronto.

Currently, the ground, home to Toronto FC and the Toronto Argonauts, has a capacity of 27,980 fans, well below FIFA’s minimum of 45,000 seats.

In order to accommodate the quadrennial competition, BMO Field will add at least 17,756 seats to its existing capacity and renders of the massive expansion can now be seen on the venue’s website.

Renderings seem to indicate that the lion’s share of new seats will be added to the north and south sides of the pitch and will exceed FIFA’s minimum of 736.

This isn’t the first time the estate has undergone an upgrade since it opened in 2007.

In 2014, some 8,400 seats and canopies to cover the stands were added at a cost of $120 million.

The Toronto Argonauts have since moved in to share space with Toronto FC and the site hosted the Gray Cup Final in 2016.

It is estimated that hosting the international tournament will cost the city $290 million. This money will also be used to cover the construction of training facilities for visiting teams and other hospitality-related events.

The provincial and federal governments are expected to cover two-thirds of the bill, and the city estimates the event will generate $307 million.

Expansion of BMO Field is expected to begin in 2024.