Budget of £778m detailed for Birmingham’s Commonwealth Games

Organisers of the 2022 Commonwealth Games have confirmed that the event in the English city of Birmingham will have a budget of £778m (€868.4m/$986.2m), slightly above initial projections but significantly below that spent on last year’s Games in Gold Coast, Australia.

Finalising of the budget was one of the key outstanding tasks for Birmingham 2022, which is having to meet the challenge of delivering the Games with a significantly truncated timescale, after the hosting rights were withdrawn from the South African city of Durban in March 2017 and awarded to Birmingham in December 2017.

Projections at the time had outlined a budget of £750m. This has increased by £28m, with around three quarters of the public funding, which includes contingency, to be met by central government (£594m), with Birmingham City Council and a number of its key partners to account for the remaining £184m.

The latter funding will come with Birmingham City Council’s financial position having been described as “immensely serious” by a government-commissioned independent panel earlier in 2019. However, local officials have pointed to the wider benefits afforded by the staging of the Commonwealth Games.

Gold Coast 2018 is expected to have delivered a £1.3bn boost to the Queensland economy and Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “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.

“The Games are undoubtedly a catalyst, bringing forward many regeneration and infrastructure schemes, so they are delivered much quicker that we could have done so otherwise. The event also gives us a golden opportunity to re-position the city and region on a global stage and bring citizens together.”

Ian Reid, chief executive for Birmingham 2022, added: “The £778m of public funding not only covers our costs for delivering the Games but a portion of this money will be invested in a couple of our key venues, covering some of the costs relating to the redevelopment of the Alexander Stadium and the building of the brand new Sandwell Aquatics Centre.

“These projects and others, which will receive additional and accelerated funding because of the Games, will benefit the city and the region long after our closing ceremony on August 7, 2022.

“We are working closely with our partners, especially the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), to ensure that wherever possible we are reducing the cost of staging a Commonwealth Games and we’re committed to delivering this event on budget. We’ll provide regular financial updates over the next three years, so that our progress can be tracked.”

The budget announcement comes after women’s Twenty20 cricket was last week confirmed as one of three sports that have been proposed for inclusion at the 2022 Games. Earlier this month, the CGF expressed its confidence in Birmingham’s preparations, despite the official budget not yet being in place.

Glasgow’s staging of the 2014 Games came with a budget of £543m, while Gold Coast 2018 totalled £967m. The CGF welcomed confirmation of the Birmingham 2022 budget, stating that it shows the cost of delivering the Commonwealth Games, and associated public funding, has been managed down whilst investment in long-term infrastructure and capital projects in Birmingham and the West Midlands is being accelerated.

CGF chief executive David Grevemberg added: “An important element of the budget detail is the significant decrease in direct Games delivery costs compared to Gold Coast 2018. A key focus since the launch of our strategic plan, Transformation 2022, has been to continually enhance the appeal and social impact of the Commonwealth Games, but also buck the global trend of rising Games delivery costs.

“Thanks to extensive partnership working and our new delivery model, we are pleased to see the operational costs come down and the value of the event to the host city and region fully maximised.”