Birmingham Commonwealth Games: New Zealand eyes hosting opportunity under new costsaving blueprint

In the wake of covid, Birmingham has been under more pressure than ever, to see a return on their investment as host of the Commonwealth Games.

In recent years, the burden of the upfront cost has put countries off - but Birmingham has created a new roadmap for keeping costs down that has New Zealand eyeing up hosting duties once again. 

Like all good family reunions, there's always the inevitable question - who’s hosting?  

And New Zealand, our Commonwealth cousins are looking our way next… 

"That would be awesome," said one England athlete. "I’d be down for that!" 

"I have never been to New Zealand," said a Mauritius athlete. "It would be a great time!" 

"Of course," said a Ghanaian athlete. "It's a Commonwealth Games - we'll go wherever it's hosted."

But it’s a pricey party to throw. These Games were originally booked in for Durban, South Africa... 

"We’re a bit disorganised sometimes, so I think that’s what happened," explained a South African athlete. 

Really, it was a matter of money. Birmingham took over, but it was balling on a budget, and pressure on the purse strings only tightened, when COVID-19 started causing trouble for the Tokyo Olympics. 

"This can be done with lower costs and I think we’ve demonstrated that here," said Birmingham City Council leader Ian Ward. 

They've taken a 'pop-up' approach, opting for temporary venues, instead of building brand new everything. 

They've outsourced, sending the cyclists to London, and athletes are staying at university accommodation. 

Mark Todd and Charisma carry the Queen's Baton into the Auckland 1990 opening ceremony
Mark Todd and Charisma carry the Queen's Baton into the Auckland 1990 opening ceremony. Photo credit: Photosport

"The requirement to build a village is a huge financial undertaking," said Ward. "If there's is an alternative for that going forward, it does reduce the cost of hosting the event," 

These Games have cost about $1.5 billion dollars, but that is nearly $400 million dollars less than the Gold Coast Games in 2018. 

The 2026 Games are already going downunder to Victoria, Australia. New Zealand could bid for 2030. 

"If we can put a bid together that made economic sense, then why not," said NZ chef de mission Nigel Avery.

So the Kiwi committee are taking notes.

"They’re using facilities they already have in place, which is the key thing," said Avery.

We last played host in 1990 - it’s still our best medal haul to date and our athletes know it. 

Ariane Nicholson/NZ Boxer:

"I think that would give you the extra little push," said NZ boxer Ariane Nicholson. 

Truly, the ultimate home advantage.

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