Birmingham 2022 contributes £870m to UK economy, report shows

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A new interim study has revealed that the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games contributed at least £870m (€982m/$1.06bn) to the UK economy.

The gross value added figure comes from a report prepared by KPMG, with support by 4Global Consulting, for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Short-term economic impacts of the Games include the activity of those engaged to redevelop Alexander Stadium, which served as the centrepiece of the event, and fit out the Sandwell Aquatics Centre.

Longer-term economic impacts include skills uplifts as part of initiatives implemented during the delivery of the Games, growth and investment among businesses in receipt of Birmingham 2022 contracts, and economic growth as a result of the improved profile, reputation and appeal of Birmingham and the West Midlands.

Birmingham’s increased capacity and capability to host major sporting events in the future was also cited as a longer-term impact. Alexander Stadium has already been awarded hosting rights for the 2026 edition of the European Athletics Championships.

The report also found that the West Midlands economy received a significant boost from the Games, with over half of the economic impact generated (£453.7m) benefiting business and communities across the region.

A record 1.5 million tickets were sold for Birmingham 2022, making it the largest multi-sport event held in England since the London 2012 Olympics. The Games, which took place from July 28 to August 8, featured 6,600 athletes and team officials from 72 Commonwealth nations and territories.

The interim report has been published after a pre-Games evaluation report was released in November 2021. The longer-term economic and societal impact of the Games will be assessed by a third evaluation report, due to be published late this year or early 2024.

Sports Minister Stuart Andrew said: “Birmingham 2022 was tremendously successful in boosting the local economy and bringing people together. This report shows that new jobs and investments are just the beginning of the story, with the Games paving the way for future events in the region.

“The Games put the West Midlands on the global stage, and provided the region with world-class facilities. Thanks to Birmingham 2022, the city now has the industry know-how and venues to host the European Athletics Championships in 2026.

“Diversity and inclusion was at the heart of the ‘Friendly Games’, with the first fully integrated pride programme, more medals for women than men and the biggest para-sport programme in Commonwealth Games history.”

Councillor Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, added: “As this report makes clear, the Birmingham Commonwealth Games provided a huge and timely boost for Birmingham, the West Midlands and the United Kingdom.

“The Games were just the start of Birmingham’s Golden Decade of Opportunity, providing a springboard for further success, and these findings underline why the bold decision by the council to lead the bid for the Games was the right one.

“Birmingham 2022 was always about much more than 11 days of sport and our focus is now firmly upon realising the long-term legacy that being the proud host city will enable. The council will continue working with partners to ensure that the people and communities of Birmingham and the wider region continue to be Commonwealth Games winners for years to come.”

The event was delivered within a budget of £778m, and the UK government has announced that it will invest over £60m of unspent contingency funding from this core budget in the West Midlands to further enhance the legacy of the Games.