Commonwealth Games hosting offers mulled


New host city options for Commonwealth Games Image: Alexander Stadium, Stephen - Itsyourbuild, CC BY-SA 2.0

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is considering multiple proposals to host the event in 2026, as uncertainty over the long-term future of the Games continues.

The BBC said that last week, Singapore joined Malaysia in ruling out a bid, after the Australian state of Victoria withdrew as the original host in July because of rising costs.

But the CGF said that progress to find a new host was being made. It said in a statement, “Significant progress has been made and we are excited by the early concepts, which aim to reset and reframe the Games.

“We are now working collaboratively with the relevant Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) to undertake further detailed assessments and aim to announce the 2026 Commonwealth Games Host in May. Our CGAs have asked, and we have agreed, to keep their proposals confidential while this process is on-going.”

The BBC said that last month, Malaysia rejected an offer to step in and host the 2026 Games, despite being offered £100 million by the CGF as supporting funds, with its sports ministry claiming it would not cover the overall cost of staging the event.

The Games was also left out of a list of 70 major events that UK Sport said it wanted Britain to host in the next 15 years, with the funding agency questioning the value it offered in its current format.

The CGA said it was working hard to make the prospect of hosting the games more attractive.

It added in a statement: “The CGF continues to accelerate work to refresh the Games, a key commitment of Commonwealth United, our Strategic Plan, 2023-2034, including exploring innovative new concepts and event opportunities and consulting with leaders across the global sporting landscape.

“Importantly, we have been focusing on how we can transform the Games to a collaborative and truly sustainable model, minimising costs and reducing its environmental footprint, whilst increasing social impact.

“Through this work we aim to create a modern, flexible blueprint for the future that inspires athletes, excites International Federations and potential Hosts, and is in the best interests of the wider Commonwealth Sport Movement.”

Birmingham 2022 a winner

The 2022 Games in Birmingham cost almost £780 million, with the city council and local partners contributing about £180 million.

But the event generated record ticket sales for a Commonwealth Games of 1.5 million.

The positive impact of hosting the Commonwealth Games has been outlined in a new report from the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The DCMS report stated that the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games contributed almost £1.2 billion to the UK economy. The report said that the economy had grown, new jobs had been created and future generations will see a lasting legacy in the West Midlands region.

Held between 28 July and 8 August 2022, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games brought together 6,600 athletes and team officials from across 72 Commonwealth nations and territories.

The Games not only contributed approximately £1.2 billion to the UK economy, with nearly half of that in the West Midlands alone but also created 22,380 full time equivalent years of employment.

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games was the biggest multi-sport event to be held in England since the London 2012 Olympics and broke the record for ticket sales at a Commonwealth Games, which contributed to a 6 per cent increase in visitor numbers to Birmingham when compared to pre-pandemic levels. In addition, the Games received global TV views of 834.9 million, over 215 million digital views and 141 million interactions on social media.

The Games were delivered on time and under budget, with £70 million of surplus funding being reinvested in the West Midlands region as part of the Commonwealth Games Legacy Enhancement Fund to support business growth, inspire young people through programmes and projects, and financially support grassroots organisations.

Launching the report, the UK Sports Minister, Stuart Andrew said: “With over 1.5 million tickets sold, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games was a record-breaking event that is still having a positive impact on the region two years on.

“This report shows that hosting major sporting events in this country boosts growth, creates jobs and has a lasting social impact for communities and some of the world’s best athletes will once again descend on Birmingham for the European Athletics Championships in 2026.”

The report also finds that the Games could lead to over £150 million social value in the longer term, which includes significant increases in wellbeing and earnings of those who were employed as part of the Games.

In addition, the West Midlands region saw a 27 per cent increase in Foreign Direct Investment projects between 2021/22 and 2022/23, almost 7 times higher than the rest of the UK (4 per cent).

The evaluation report also sets out that the Games had a positive impact on the regeneration of the Perry Barr area in the north of Birmingham. This includes transport infrastructure improvements and the upgrade to the Alexander Stadium, which is now open for community use and will also host the European Athletics Championships in 2026, the first time that event will ever have been held in the UK.

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