Birmingham officially launched a bid for the 2026 Commonwealth Games Friday, saying that the Games would create thousands of new jobs, benefit local suppliers, and boost existing transport and housing plans.
Birmingham city council leader John Clancy said, “Birmingham is a fantastic sporting city and we have proven ourselves to be warm, welcoming and friendly hosts to a number of international events in recent years.
“In addition to the huge economic impact, these events showcase the very best of our city and wider region to the world”, he said.
Backers of Birmingham’s bid, which include councils and businesses, said the city had a track record of hosting big international sporting events at existing venues, such as Villa Park, Edgbaston cricket ground and the Alexander stadium. Existing venues outside of Birmingham could also be used, including the West Bromwich Albion ground and Coventry’s Ricoh arena.
The city also boasts the NEC exhibition venue, International Convention Centre which is hosting the Conservative party conference next week, and the Genting and Barclaycard arenas.
Next year the city is hosting the Birmingham International Marathon and fixtures for cricket’s ICC Championships Trophy, and in 2018 it will be home to the World Indoor Athletics championships.
Ian Ward, Birmingham city council’s deputy leader, called on the region to back the bid. He said, “the economic benefit, not to mention the excitement and legacy of such an immense sporting event would have on this area, is massive”.
The next Commonwealth Games will be held in 2018 on the Gold Coast in Queensland Australia, and the 2022 Games will be in Durban, South Africa.
Birmingham is currently competing for the 2026 Games nomination in the UK with Liverpool after that city declared interest last month. A decision on which UK city will be chosen to continue its bid internationally will be made in 2018, and the final decision on a host city is to be made in September 2019 by the Commonwealth Games general assembly.
Britain last hosted the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.
International interest in hosting the Commonwealth Games has come from Auckland in New Zealand, Edmonton in Canada and Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea.
Edmonton pulled out of the 2022 Games bid after a downturn in oil prices forced the city to reconsider financial priorities. At the time organizers announced that they would instead refocus on 2026 campaign, leaving the 2022 Games unopposed to Durban.