Hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games will provide an economic boost of at least £1.5bn in the first year for the West Midlands economy, with further benefits each year beyond.
According to research conducted by former Treasury and MHCLG senior economist Chris Walker, the region should see a minimum £1.5bn ‘games gift’ in the first year from Birmingham hosting the Games through increased visitor figures to the region and by boosting international trade.
In addition, the West Midlands is also estimated to see a one-off economic benefit of £500m from construction work taking place across the region before hosting the Games including a new £60m aquatics centre in Sandwell and the £70m transformation of the Alexander Stadium.
The report, entitled ‘A golden opportunity’, highlights how governments across the world are placing greater importance on hosting sporting events as a platform for increasing trade and tourism.
And the Commonwealth Games, the world’s second-largest international competition by number of countries and athletes participating, will put both Birmingham and the West Midlands in front of an estimated cumulative global audience of more than 1.5 billion people.
The 2022 bid team’s decision to host Business Expo 2022 in Birmingham ahead of the Games, is also expected to bring 10,000 business leaders and delegates to the West Midlands with the aim of creating inter-connecting trade opportunities between Commonwealth nations and key global markets from the USA, Middle East, and China.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “It is vital that the Commonwealth Games leaves a legacy for the region.
“We are determined that we do this through the transport investments we are developing, the housing that will replace the athlete’s village and the sports facilities.
“But perhaps more enduring will be the reputational legacy of showcasing our region to the world, demonstrating a strong, diverse and confident post-Brexit region.”
Dennis Hone, group board member for Mace and former chief executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority, said: “The 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham is a golden opportunity to use global sport and infrastructure investment to deliver transformational change, a positive lasting legacy and a boost to UK exports to the fast-growing countries of the Commonwealth.
“My experience has taught me that legacy doesn’t happen automatically. Capturing legacy benefits takes hard work, early planning and collaboration between stakeholders.
“If we get it right, the 2022 Commonwealth Games will be so much more than just sport – they can represent a landmark period of change and growth for an entire region and help boost the UK’s global trade post-Brexit.”
Simon Dale, director for the Midlands at Mace, said: “The Commonwealth Games will be the largest event to ever be held in the West Midlands and the largest event to be held in Britain after our departure from the European Union. Birmingham City Council leader Ian Ward has quite rightly set the city the lofty ambition of hosting the best Commonwealth Games ever.”
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