Five towns and cities are to stage the first-ever multi-location Commonwealth Games after the Australian state of Victoria was confirmed as the host of the 2026 event.
The 100,000-capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground will stage the opening ceremony in March 2026, while venues in Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Gippsland will also host sporting events. It has been reported that track and field events will take place at the 11,000-capacity Mars Stadium in Ballarat.
The announcement follows a successful exclusive dialogue period between the Commonwealth Games Federation, Commonwealth Games Australia (CGAus) and Victoria, where a proposal to stage the major multi-sport competition across the state was agreed.
Organisers said the multi-location proposal capitalises on the 2026/30 Strategic Roadmap, which provides renewed flexibility to be innovative and creative in delivering the Games.
CGF president Dame Louise Martin said: “Commonwealth Games Australia and the Victorian Government have set out a bold and innovative vision for hosting our major multi-sport event.
“In Victoria, we believe we have found the perfect partner for the next stage of our journey.
“This a very special moment for the Commonwealth Sport Family and on behalf of the entire Movement, I would like to congratulate Commonwealth Games Australia and Victoria on their successful Games submission. We now look forward to a bright future as we work together to stage a Commonwealth Games like no other.”
The 2026/30 Strategic Roadmap seeks to provide future hosts and sports with the renewed flexibility to be innovative and creative in delivering the Games, at a time when the CGF has faced difficulties in securing hosts. Significantly, the CGF’s extensive overhaul of its showpiece event will also see only athletics and aquatics retained as proposed compulsory sports from its 2026 edition.
Organisers said there will be a phased approach in creating the sports programme for Victoria 2026. An initial 16 sports have been put forward for the Games, with further sports to be added later this year.
Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews said: “It’s a great honour to have Victoria chosen as the host venue for the 2026 Commonwealth Games – we can’t wait to welcome the world to all of our state.
“The Commonwealth Games in regional Victoria is great for jobs, hospitality and our economy.”