May 22, 2024

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games 'contributed £1.2 billion to the UK economy'

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games contributed £1.2 billion to the UK economy, new figures say.

Nearly half of this was generated in the West Midlands as the largest multi-sport event held in England since the 2012 London Olympics brought together 6,600 athletes and team officials from 72 Commonwealth countries and territories.

There was also £79.5 million of social value, according to an assessment published by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Sports Minister Stuart Andrew said the figures show the Games, which were held between July 28 and August 8, “were a record-breaking event that continues to have a positive impact on the region two years later.”

Commonwealth Games Birmingham 2022 – Opening Ceremony

The Commonwealth flag is raised during the opening ceremony (David Davies/PA)

Memorable moments included the entry of Ozzy, the 10-foot-tall mechanical bull named after Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne, into the Alexander Stadium during the opening ceremony – and the largest-ever integrated program for Paralympic sport.

The Games were supported by the Business and Tourism Program (BATP) – the first economic legacy program aligned with the Commonwealth Games.

Delivered by the West Midlands Growth Company in collaboration with the Government, Visit Britain and the West Midlands Combined Authority, the program aims to capitalize on the “halo effect” of the Games by boosting trade, investment and tourism.

But in September 2023, Max Kahler, a former Birmingham City Council councillor, described hosting the event as a “step too far” after the authority effectively declared bankruptcy.

Kahler, a former non-executive director of the council appointed by the government in 2019 to help solve its financial problems, told the BBC's Today programme, that he and others had advised the council not to host the Games in the city in 2022 and instead focus on “serious problems”. the list.

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His comments came after the council, which is Europe's largest local authority, issued a section 114 notice, meaning all new spending will stop immediately and is likely to cut many services.

DCMS said the games were delivered on time and on budget, with £70 million of surplus funding reinvested in the West Midlands.

This was part of the Commonwealth Games Legacy Enhancement Fund to support business growth, inspire young people through sports engagement programmes, youth projects and financially support grassroots organisations.

Visitors also flocked to Birmingham, which saw a 6% increase in numbers compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The number of television views globally reached 834.9 million, more than 215 million digital views, and 141 million interactions on social media.

The West Midlands also saw a 27% increase in FDI projects between 2021/22 and 2022/23.

The report also found that gaming could lead to more than £150 million of additional social value in the long term, largely due to increased future earnings among those trained as part of gaming.

Commonwealth Games Birmingham 2022 – Closing CeremonyCommonwealth Games Birmingham 2022 – Closing Ceremony

A view of fans in the stands before the closing ceremony (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Mr Andrew is attending the SportAccord Global Sports and Business Summit this week, which brings together global sports business leaders and is hosted at the International Convention Center in Birmingham.

He said: “With more than 1.5 million tickets sold, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games were a record-breaking event and continues to have a positive impact on the region two years later.

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

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Commonwealth Games Federation president Chris Jenkins described the tournament as an “amazing, record-breaking Games that created special moments on and off the field”, including awarding more medals to women than men.

Describing it as “much more than 11 days of sporting competition”, he said: “It has driven trade and inward investment, created jobs and boosted tourism, with visitor numbers to Birmingham and the West Midlands in 2022 reaching an all-time high.”

“From increasing civic pride and social cohesion, to enhancing community sports participation, the Games have been truly transformative.”

Upgrades have been made to Birmingham's Alexander Stadium, which is now open for community use and is scheduled to host the European Athletics Championships in 2026.

The 2025 Women's Rugby World Cup and the 2028 UEFA European Football Championship across the UK and Ireland are some of the major sporting events that will be hosted on local beaches in the coming years.