CGF gives Hamilton September deadline for 2026 Commonwealth Games bid

The Women's Triathlon on day one of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

The Commonwealth Games Federation has given the city of Hamilton a September deadline to secure the necessary government backing to bid for the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

The CGF has been working with the city and Commonwealth Sport Canada since August 2019 to explore pivoting the city’s bid for the 2030 event to 2026.

In a letter addressed to the Hamilton 2026 bid corporation, CGF president Dame Louise Martin wrote: “Following the decision of CSC to put Hamilton forward as the preferred Candidate City to host the Games and our agreement to explore a pivot from the 2030 Games to 2026, the CGF has invested significant time and dedicated resources to support Hamilton in the development of proposals.

“Due to the escalating importance of securing a host city, the CGF commits to continuing to provide this same support on the process for hosting the 2026 Games, specifically to CSC and Hamilton, until the end of September.”

Dame Martin calls on the Hamilton bid to secure clear commitments and dedicated support from Hamilton City Council and Provincial and Federal Government Partners to develop a robust candidacy, stressing that the CGF aspires to award the Games by the end of this year.

The city in the Canadian province of Ontario had originally planned to try for the 2030 games to celebrate the centenary of its hosting of the inaugural edition of the event in 1930 – then called the British Empire Games – but the CGF requested it consider a 2026 bid, reassuring it that it is unlikely to be challenged for the earlier event.

“We strongly believe Hamilton, the very birthplace of the Commonwealth Games Sports Movement, would be an ideal partner in hosting a modern and progressive 2026 Commonwealth Games,” Dame Martin wrote. “The Games returning to its place of origin would support the city and the province in their recovery from Covid-19, as well as contributing to ongoing regeneration initiatives and the communities’ long-term sustainability and prosperity agendas.”

Since 2017, the CGF has tried to provide more commercial support and guidance to potential host cities through CGF Partnerships, a joint venture with the  Lagardère Sports agency.  Under the new model, the CGF acts as a ‘host city partner’, helping cities to refine their delivery models and produce more sustainable events that are better aligned with their own development goals.

In recent times, the CGF has been keen to emphasis the economic boost it offers hosts. In May this year, it published a report touting an average economic impact of £1bn for the Commonwealth Games this century, claiming the last edition, in Gold Coast, Australia, generated as much as £1.2bn for the regional economy.

In a recent interview with SportBusiness, CGF chief executive David Grevemberg said: “We’ve definitely positioned [the Commonwealth Games] as a stimulus package, whether it’s an emerging, regenerative or sustained market. We look at those as the three different market types that we’re catering to, and I do think that major sporting events, when run with that balance of world-class and community-relevant experience and benefit, can be an amazing tool for development.”