Commonwealth Games 2022: Birmingham event to cost £778m

The proposed £60m aquatics centre
A £60m aquatics centre is planned for the 2022 Commonwealth Games

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will cost £778m, the government has announced.

Three-quarters of the public funding for the 11-day event will come from central government, with £184m having to be found by Birmingham City Council.

The budget is above initial estimates of £750m, but lower than the £967m spent on the 2018 Gold Coast Games.

It will be the most expensive sports event in the UK since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

"The Games will be the biggest sporting and cultural event ever held in the city," said sports minister Mims Davies.

"Watched by one and a half billion people worldwide, this is a massive opportunity to showcase the best that Birmingham, the West Midlands and the whole UK has to offer.

"The Games budget is a significant investment in Birmingham and the region that will deliver benefits to local people for years to come. It will increase participation and encourage more people to get active and stay active, and to volunteer to be part of this fantastic event 10 years on from London 2012."

Birmingham 2022 costs at a glance

  • Government has announced the 2022 Commonwealth Games will cost £778m.
  • This is £28m above projections, but nearly £200m below funding for Gold Coast 2018.
  • Birmingham's costs will be split - around 75% (£594m) paid by central government and 25% (£184m) by city council.
  • It will be the most expensive sports event in the UK since London 2012 Olympics.
  • The London Games cost £8.8bn, while the 2014 Commonwealths in Glasgow had a £543m budget.

Do the figures stack up?

Although most facilities for the event are already built, the central venue - the Alexander Stadium - is having a £70m upgrade, with a long-term tenant yet to be announced.

Council chiefs are in talks with Birmingham City University about a potential partnership that could see part of the university campus move to the site.

A £60m aquatics centre is being built in Sandwell, and £350m is being spent on the athletes' village in Perry Barr, which will then be turned into 1,500 homes.

Birmingham City Council's financial position was described as "immensely serious" by a government-commissioned independent panel earlier this year.

There have been £642m of cuts made since 2011 with a further £123m expected by 2021-22. The council is borrowing £50m to help pay for the event but insists it will not affect spending on local services.

"The level of investment coming into the city and the wider West Midlands as a result of our decision to successfully bid for the right to host the Commonwealth Games is huge," said council leader Ian Ward.

"The Games are undoubtedly a catalyst, bringing forward many regeneration and infrastructure schemes, so they are delivered much quicker than we could have done otherwise.

"The event also gives us a golden opportunity to reposition the city and region on a global stage and bring citizens together."

The Alexander Stadium
The Alexander Stadium will be a focal point for the Games

How did we get here?

The 2022 Games were originally awarded to the South African city of Durban in 2015, but it was then stripped of the event because it did not meet key Commonwealth Games Federation criteria.

Birmingham was named as the replacement host 18 months ago, and now has just three years before staging one of the world's biggest multi-sport events.

This investment is expected to deliver significant benefits for Birmingham, the West Midlands and the UK long after the 11 days of sport are over.

Organisers say Birmingham 2022 will open up a wealth of opportunities, including business and trade, cultural engagement, volunteering, physical activity, jobs and skills, education and tourism. Over one million tickets will be made available for spectators from across the UK and around the world.

Additional commercial revenue will be raised by the Birmingham 2022 organising committee and Commonwealth Games Federation partnerships through ticket sales, sponsorship, merchandising and the sale of broadcast rights.

Regular financial updates on the budget will be provided in the lead-up to the Games, with the organising committee also laying its accounts before Parliament.

What they say about funding

Commonwealth Games Federation president Dame Louise Martin: "An important element of the budget detail is the significant decrease in direct Games delivery costs compared to Gold Coast 2018."

Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street: "Investment in the region is already being unlocked thanks to the Games, with improvements to public transport and the regeneration of Perry Barr well under way. We expect the wider benefits of hosting the Games, including the economic and tourism boost, to last long into the future."

A spokesperson for the organisers: "Birmingham 2022 offers a unique opportunity to harness the power of sport and cultural activities to boost the West Midlands region and to promote global Britain across the Commonwealth as we leave the EU.

"The evidence from previous host cities demonstrates the significant benefits of staging the Games. Gold Coast 2018 is expected to have delivered a £1.3bn boost to the Queensland economy."

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