Birmingham Commonwealth Games: Kiwi fans flock to Comm Games as Birmingham braces for record crowds

The dark days of no sports crowds are well and truly over. Fans are back and making up for lost time, with this year’s Commonwealth Games already registering record attendance numbers.

Team New Zealand’s contingent of friends and family have arrived with years of COVID-stifled cheers, and they’ve packed all the supporter essentials.

"You will know the New Zealand corner, because we're so loud," said Pam Pillay, mother of Black Sticks player Tyler Lench.

‘Proud mum’ doesn’t do Pillay justice. After being denied the opportunity to watch her daughter compete at last year's fan-free Tokyo Olympics, there was no chance she was going to miss out on a trip to Birmingham.

"Tokyo was really disappointing because i still wanted to go and watch," she said. "I don't care what the cost is [to travel to Birmingham], I'm just going."

There was perhaps only one person in the world  more determined to be here - sports super fan Om Prakash Mundra.

"I say sport is a religion for me,"he told Newshub. "It has given me so much in my life," 

Mundra is visiting from India for his fourth Commonwealth Games. He's volunteered at five summer Olympics and five Winter ones too.

The absence of crowds at Tokyo has only made his fandom grow fonder

"Without the spectators, you don't enjoy it," he added.

These Games are well on track to be the most attended Commonwealth Games in history and Birmingham is cashing in.

More than 1.2 million tickets have already been sold, surpassing Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018, who only just managed to crack 1 million. 

A $2.5 billion boost is anticipated to hit Birmingham over the next fortnight.

All the hotels are fully booked as well in the area so we're expecting it to be quite busy," said hotel manager Shannon Lewis.

Businesses and fans will both be back cheering in 2022.

Join us for live updates of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, starting Friday