Birmingham’s bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games is up and running – Martin Guest, Managing Director, CBRE Birmingham
The UK is fielding two cities: Liverpool and Brum. One will go forward to represent the country against rival bids from Canada, Malaysia and Australia.
By and large Birmingham already has the facilities, infrastructure and sporting tradition to deliver the Games.
But while local politicians, sporting communities and business leaders are on board with the Birmingham bid, key to winning the UK brief will be engaging the city’s citizens in the process.
This is possibly a bigger hurdle for Birmingham to overcome and nor should we underestimate it. Birmingham’s bid for the 2008 European Capital of Culture was condemned for failing to galvanise public support. It’s a criticism that still rankles today.
What’s more, this is a problem Liverpool is unlikely to have. Scousers are extrovert and natural show-boaters. In contrast, Brummies are self-deprecating, with an in-built humility you don’t find in other regional cities. It was Liverpool, as it happens, that took that 2008 Capital of Culture title.
So why should Brummies back the bid? What’s in it for them?
- New investment: The Government has stated that it wants the Games to have “a lasting impact on its host city and the people that live there.” And they are prepared to put their money where their mouth is. Post Brexit, the UK needs to reach beyond its immediate European neighbours. The Games will be a major PR exercise for the Government and they will invest accordingly. More public money for Birmingham? It’d be rude not to take it
- Grass roots support: Birmingham is the most ethnically and culturally diverse regional city in the UK with more than 187 different nationalities. 314,000 residents in the West Midlands were born in a Commonwealth country. The bid campaign slogan “heart of the UK, soul of the Commonwealth” epitomises this
- New homes: The athletes village, needed to house 5,000 competitors and their support teams, will provide much needed homes for Brummies after the event
- New jobs and contracts to upgrade our facilities and enhance our infrastructure, including improvements to the A34
- Get Involved: the volunteer “Games Makers” were a run-away success of London 2012. 12,500 will be required for the Commonwealth Games
- New/better sports facilities: A new, competition grade swimming pool for the region – the only facility we will need to build from scratch. Increased capacity at Alexander Stadium to make it the UK’s largest permanent athletics venue
- Tourism: Showcase our tourism offer to the people of the 70 competing nations. Tourism is a major contributor to our regional GDP, and a job creator
- Feel-good factor: An 11-day city-wide party. Who doesn’t love a party? Communities and schools can get involved. The feel-good factor lingered long after London 2012 closing ceremony
So, let’s put off our natural reserve and shake off our underdog status.
Let’s big up Birmingham, like Usain Bolt and his 2012 Olympic medal winning Jamaican teammates:
Keep up to date with the campaign’s progress:
Facebook (Birmingham 2022)