Birmingham 2022 seeks telecoms provider, three-Games host broadcaster considered

Birmingham 2022 CEO Ian Reid with Nicky Morgan, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary (Photo by Miles Willis/Getty Images for Birmingham 2022)

The organising committee for Birmingham’s 2022 Commonwealth Games has begun its search for a telecommunications services partner.

An invitation to tender has been issued to find a company to facilitate the telecoms infrastructure and associated services at the multi-sports event, while the process to appoint a host broadcaster also continues.

SportBusiness understands that the total value of the telecommunications services contract is estimated by organisers to be worth up to £10.4m (€11.9m/$13.2m) excluding VAT.

It is envisaged that the contract will be split into three parts, comprising: fixed and mobile connectivity services; venue network integration services; and venue network equipment. It is the venue network integration services aspect that is expected to involve the largest costs with an estimated value of just over £5m.

The telecoms infrastructure put in place will help to enable connectivity, communications and internet solutions for broadcast, scoring and timing systems, the distribution of results, event services and website and cloud-based applications.

A deadline of November 25 has been set in the tender process.

Optus, the Australian telecoms operator, held the role of official support network of the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, providing the event’s communications infrastructure and managed services. The agreement also included sponsorship of the Australian Commonwealth Games team and a range of benefits, including event branding and activation opportunities. Optus was one of seven “Official Partners” of the Games.

Meanwhile, the Birmingham 2022 organising committee issued an invitation to tender in September for the host broadcast contract. It is understood that the contract on offer not only includes Birmingham’s games, but also an option to extend the agreement to the 2026 and 2030 editions, the venues for which have yet to be decided.

The ITT was launched by Birmingham 2022 and CGF Partnerships, the commercial vehicle set up by the Commonwealth Games Federation and Lagardère Sports.

Upon the start of the process to find a host broadcast company, the estimated value of the contract was set at £81m excluding VAT.

The contract is expected to be awarded in April 2020.

The appointed company will be responsible for developing production plans and requirements for each sport and delivering the international television and radio feeds, along with a multi-channel service, to rights-holding broadcasters.

An award of the host broadcast duties for all three games is not certain, however, as Birmingham 2022 and CGF Partnerships will award a contract for the 2022 event only if there is “insufficient economic benefit” in awarding a wider agreement.

During the initial timeline set out, a deadline of October 7 was set for receipt of tenders or requests to participate, with a November 25 deadline pencilled in for the “date of dispatch of invitations to tender or to participate to selected candidates”.

The host broadcast of the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast was led by NEP and supported by Seven Network, the Australian commercial broadcaster, and Sunset+Vine.

Gold Coast 2018 represented the fourth successive Commonwealth Games for NEP after helping to deliver the host broadcast of Glasgow 2014, Delhi 2010 and Melbourne 2006. The Glasgow 2014 host broadcast contract was awarded to both Sunset+Vine and Global Television, which was bought by NEP at the end of 2013.

The 2022 Commonwealth Games will take place in Birmingham and the West Midlands area from July 27 to August 7, 2022. Only the track cycling, which will take place at London’s Lee Valley velodrome, will take place away from the West Midlands.