A new report to be released Wednesday by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) boasts that recent host cities have shown consistent economic boosts of over £1 billion (USD $1.2 billion) as well as increased tourism, accelerated capital investment and social benefits including increased participation in community and elite sports.
The 226-page study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in December “is the largest and most detailed analysis of the event in history,” the CGF claims. Commissioned in 2018 as part of the organization’s ‘Transformation 2022’ vision and strategy, the report covers four of the previous five editions of the Games including Manchester 2002, Melbourne 2006, Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018.
“It’s been long in the coming,” CGF CEO David Grevemberg told GamesBids.com by teleconference Monday.
“It shows where we’ve come from over a relatively short period of time, refining and recalibrating the Commonwealth Sport Movement’s vision, mission and strategic priorities.
“[The report] shows how past Games have provided real value, and real return on investment.
“We’re proud of the information that has come out of this.”
The report, that has been seen by GamesBids.com, excludes research on Delhi 2010, a Games that was mired in controversy and corruption. According to PwC those Games were omitted because “the available evidence on costs and benefits is less complete.”
“Hosting the Games boosts local, regional and national GDP. Gold Coast 2018 has demonstrated the biggest uplift of £1.2 billion, followed by Manchester 2002 (£1.1 billion), Melbourne 2006 (£1 billion) and Glasgow 2014 (£0.8 billion).” – CGF
The new positive analysis comes as the CGF proactively seeks a host for the 2026 edition of the Games, and in April offered the city of Hamilton first and sole consideration if the Canadian city pivots from its intended 2030 bid. Hamilton had targeted 2030 to commemorate the centennial of the inaugural Games held in the city.
Wednesday’s release of the document has been strategically timed by the CGF and the Hamilton bid committee, who have seen the report, to help sell the bid locally. Commonwealth Games Canada (CGC) will need support and financial commitments from government partners in order to move forward – a big ask during the current Coronavirus pandemic.
“What this report does is show how some of the challenges were addressed and opportunities harnessed and hopefully that provides public sector partners with perspective and confidence… with legitimate and credible information to strongly consider the possibility of a Commonwealth Games,” Grevemberg said.
“I think it really is to broaden people’s peripheral view of what is the possibility of sport particularly as people start to look at what recovery looks like, if we’re going to use sport as a possibility for resetting post COVID-19.
“I think this is something important to get into people’s minds; ‘how is this done?’, ‘what are some of the models and some of the examples of how a major sporting events has provided benefits to communities?’”
Despite recent successful Games, the CGF has struggled to attract qualified cities interested in hosting the major multi-sport event that welcomes athletes from more than 70 teams across The Commonwealth. The 2022 edition was eventually awarded to Birmingham, England after Durban in South Africa was stripped of its rights because it missed financial milestones.
Durban had been awarded the Games in 2015 unopposed after other proposals from Canada, Britain and Australia dropped out of the running.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games held in Gold Coast, Australia received glowing reviews, but public sentiment has risen against hosting major events due to the perceived costs and risks.
Grevemberg hopes this new data provides better context for the decision makers.
Recent Games have relied on financial science to maximize returns on investment and keep costs low.
“We continue to refine and create a more efficient Games delivery model,” he said.
“Getting that delivery model to a point where we are actually delivery partners, that we are actually part of the delivery team.
“Not all places can host all sports and they shouldn’t build white elephants just to accommodate that one sport, so what we’re looking at is creating a more agile approach to the delivery of the sport program.”
To illustrate this point, Grevemberg referenced the recent compromise with Indian officials that will see archery and shooting competitions planned for the Birmingham 2022 Games to be staged in India six months prior to the Opening Ceremony – instead of scrapping the sports for lack of a suitable venue.
India had considered boycotting the Games if the events – where the nation typically achieves great success – were to be excluded.
Grevemberg sees an opportunity where these co-hosted events could continue to keep costs low and allow smaller Commonwealth nations to stage sport and share in the benefits.
The CGF continues discussions with many cities interested in hosting a future Commonwealth Games but are currently focused on Hamilton only. It hopes to lock in the 2026 choice this year.