Feasibility: Birmingham 2026 and the Business of Bidding

The post this month is specifically on a news article I came across in mid-January- Feasibility study for Birmingham Commonwealth Games bid to begin– on insidethegames.biz.

It resonated for a number of reasons. Firstly, I am a citizen of Birmingham currently so incredibly interested in whether the city is considering a bid. Secondly, it crosses into my PhD research as I have been delving into the history of the London 2012 bid, and Birmingham features as it had bid to host the 1992 Summer Olympics. Finally, I used it in my teaching, as the group I led considered the stakeholders and elements involved in the thought processes of sport mega events.

I was 12 when Manchester hosted the 2002 Commonwealth Games and still vividly remember marching around my home city with a t-shirt and teddy bear. So, on a personal level I do not need selling on the benefits and wonderful nature of the weeks that a city hosts a sport mega event.

But, through growing older and where my research has taken me, it is more important to consider nearly a decade in advance whether to even bid. The article cites that the feasibility study alone will cost around £170,000. Is the business of bidding and hosting beyond the mere mythical feeling of hosting? The short answer to that is, yes. Even simply considering the slick nature of the group commissioned to do the feasibility study shows the professionalisation of the process.

What I hope (both personally and academically) is that the results of the feasibility study are shared in the most transparent manner. With an option of choice or direct consultation with the citizens of Birmingham. Beyond pure economics and personal experience, it is a growing trend that host cities publicly decide. I mentioned that in the linked post and article as Norway resisted bidding very publicly for the 2022 Winter Olympics race. If an informed discussion can be created, then in the current political climate the citizens should have a say.

All in all, for many reasons I am going to be keeping my eye on this… using this post to serve as a reminder!

Any thoughts on whether Birmingham should bid or not would be appreciated…


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