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Commonwealth Games Value Questioned As Melbourne Could Claim 2026 Event


After Durban was forced to pull out from the hosting of the 2022 Commonwealth Games due to financial trouble and missing deadlines, previously named hosts of the 2026 Commonwealth Games, Birmingham, stepped up to host this year’s edition.

With Birmingham set to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) has been searching for a replacement host for the 2026 event, with reports emerging the Victorian Government has been asked to host the event in Melbourne.

Melbourne last hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2006 and is now reportedly conducting feasibility studies into whether it would be able to host the 2026 edition.

The approach has garnered attention and left some pundits questioning the value of the Commonwealth Games with the CGF willing to award the hosting rights to Melbourne without competition.

Some have claimed the impacts and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic have diminished the value of hosting major international sporting events, with the financial impacts seen in Tokyo in the lead-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games causing hesitance around the world.

Despite this, the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne saw the state’s economy boosted by $1.6 billion over a 20-year period and created around 13,600 jobs in Victoria.

On average, since the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games, the event has seen the host cities’ economy boosted by over $1.8 billion, with the latest edition hosted on the Gold Coast in 2018 seeing an economic boost of $2.2 billion.

In 2006, the Victorian State Government contributed 75% of funds for total public sector Games-related expenditure, however, early reports have suggested the state government would not be willing to commit the same investment due to the short timeline of preparation.

Melbourne was reportedly planning a bid to host the 2030 Games, with regional Victoria expected to play a large part in hosting major events throughout the Games and the hosting to avoid the building of a major athlete village hub, with the organisers opting instead to utilise hotel accommodation.

Discussing the potential 2026 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, Melbourne’s 2030 bid taskforce chair, Adem Karafili, said: “We knew from day one this concept would make sense and COVID has made it even more achievable.”

“It’s designed to ensure that existing infrastructure is upgraded and revamped rather than building wholescale new facilities…

“It would also be a legacy piece for regional cities to be able to bid for national and international championships,” Karafili said.

The Victorian State Government is reportedly preparing an official bid process for the 2026 Commonwealth Games following the outcome of a current feasibility study.

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