Idea of new Surrey stadium gets a pre-FIFA World Cup boost

Amid the city’s tight budgets and ongoing arguments over policing costs, the pitch for a new, multi-million dollar stadium in Surrey is getting a boost.

The latest concept for a new stadium for the city was brought up by Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke in her February “State of the City” address, with the Surrey Board of Trade (SBoT) envisioning a 12,000-seat, modular, prefabricated facility with a roughly estimated $35 million price tag.

At the board event Tuesday, Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim didn’t directly address the stadium idea but he did say Surrey needs to grab onto economic opportunities related to Vancouver’s 2026 FIFA World Cup games.

Sim argued the major event will have long-term ripple effects for the region.

“The world is going to be seeing Vancouver. It’s insane. If you think of Expo 86 and what it meant to our city, then you think of the Olympics and what it meant to our city, this thing is, like, way bigger than both,” he told SBoT president and CEO Anita Huberman.

“When you have all those eyeballs on Vancouver and they fall in love with the city … there are going to be a lot of different countries that come here, they are going to be following the teams, they’re going to be going to the different neighbourhoods and people are going to come back,” he added.

Sim suggests the region will be getting global exposure equivalent to “30 to 40 Super Bowls” over the course of a month, creating many economic opportunities.

“These are investments, and if we do it right, it’s not the cost of the games, it’s what do we get in return over the next 30 years?” he asked.

“We bring economic prosperity here, we have more people working, we have more businesses successful, we create more tax revenue that then goes to fund social programs, schools, hospitals, building roads, and it lifts all boats.”

During her “fireside chat” conversation with Sim, Huberman indicated Surrey is among the local cities considering “activation zones” during the tournament, and has publicly said the idea of a stadium just needs the political will to make it a reality.

Huberman believes a prefabricated stadium could be built in time to host festivities or even practices during the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

The City of Surrey is in the process of conducting a feasibility study of the concept, but if and when it could get approval is not clear.

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