Birmingham Commonwealth Games contributed £1.2 billion to UK economy

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The Games not only contributed approximately £1.2 billion to the UK economy, with nearly half of that in the West Midlands alone, but created 22,380 full time equivalent years of employment. Photo credit: Bullivant Media

The Commonwealth Games hosted in Birmingham in 2022 contributed almost £1.2 billion to the UK economy, new evaluation published today reveals. 

The positive impact of the UK hosting major sporting events has been outlined in a new report which shows the economy has grown, new jobs have been created and new infrastructure has been delivered that provides a lasting legacy in the West Midlands.

The Games not only contributed approximately £1.2 billion to the UK economy, with nearly half of that in the West Midlands alone, but created 22,380 full time equivalent years of employment.

Held between 28 July and 8 August 2022, the Games brought together 6,600 athletes and team officials from across 72 Commonwealth nations and territories.

The event was the biggest multi-sport event to be held in England since London 2012 and broke the record for ticket sales at a Commonwealth Games.

Commonwealth Games Birmingham 2022 Queens Baton at Birmingham airport. From left to right – Team England netball player Layla Guscoth, Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, and the Official Birmingham 2022 mascot Perry.

The Games were delivered on time and under budget, with £70 million of surplus funding being reinvested in the West Midlands region as part of the Commonwealth Games Legacy Enhancement Fund to support business growth, inspire young people through sport participation programmes and youth projects, and financially support grassroots organisations.

To champion this positive report, Sports Minister Stuart Andrew is attending Sport Accord World Sport and Business Summit this week, which brings together global sport business leaders and is being hosted at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham.

Sports Minister Stuart Andew said:

With over 1.5 million tickets sold, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games was a record-breaking event that is still having a positive impact on the region two years on.

This report shows that hosting major sporting events in this country boosts growth, creates jobs and has a lasting social impact for communities and some of the world’s best athletes will once again descend on Birmingham for the European Athletics Championships in 2026.

Sports Minister Stuart Andew. Photo credit: UK Gov

Birmingham saw a significant increase in visitors due to the Games, with a 6 per cent increase in visitor numbers when compared to pre-pandemic levels. There were also global TV views of 834.9 million, over 215 million digital views and 141 million interactions on social media.

On top of this, the West Midlands saw a 27 per cent increase in Foreign Direct Investment projects between 2021/22 and 2022/23, almost 7 times higher than the rest of the UK (4 per cent). 

The report also finds that the Games could lead to over £150 million of further social value in the longer term, largely as a result of increased future earnings among those trained as part of the Games.

Commonwealth Games Federation President Chris Jenkins OBE said:

Birmingham 2022 was a spectacular, record-breaking Games that created iconic moments on and off the field, uniting the Commonwealth through sport. The first major multi-sport event in history to award more medals to women than men, with the largest ever fully integrated programme of Para sport, it captivated more than 1.5 million attending fans and had a global TV audience of 834.9 million views. 

It was so much more than 11 days of sporting competition. The report outlines the positive impact and lasting legacy of the Games, which contributed £1.2 billion to the UK economy and £79.5 million in social value. It drove trade and inward investment, created jobs and boosted tourism, with visitor numbers to Birmingham and the West Midlands in 2022 the highest on record. From increased civic pride and social cohesion, to promoting community sport participation, the Games were truly transformational.

The Games was supported by the Business and Tourism Programme (BATP) – the first economic legacy programme to be aligned to a Commonwealth Games. Delivered by the West Midlands Growth Company in collaboration with the Government, Visit Britain and the West Midlands Combined Authority, the programme aimed to capitalise on the ‘halo effect’ of the Games by boosting trade, investment and tourism.

Neil Rami, Chief Executive at the West Midlands Growth Company said:

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games – and our dedicated Business and Tourism Programme – contributed to a record year of performance for the West Midlands. The region witnessed the UK’s highest growth rate in FDI and an unprecedented 141 million visitors in 2022 – smashing the previous record set before the COVID-19 pandemic.

These figures are an emphatic endorsement of the West Midlands’ world-class event-hosting capability. They reinforce the powerful role of sporting events in enhancing profile, uplifting economies and capturing hearts and minds.

The evaluation sets out that the Games has also had a positive impact on the regeneration of the Perry Barr area in the north of the city. This includes transport infrastructure improvements and the upgrade to the Alexander Stadium, which is now open for community use and will also host the European Athletics Championships in 2026, the first time that event will ever have been held in the UK.

This is just one example of a number of major sporting events to be hosted in the UK over the coming years, including the 2025 Women’s Rugby World Cup and the 2028 UEFA European Championships across the UK and Ireland.

This is on the back of major hosting successes in recent years, including the 2022 women’s UEFA European Championship and 2021 Rugby League World Cup, with this report showing that major sporting events have a significant impact on all areas of society.

Read the full Evaluation of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Source: Department for Culture, Media and Sport and The Rt Hon Stuart Andrew MP

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