Six years before the Olympic Games head to Queensland, the Commonwealth Games will take place in Victoria in 2026 as a regional Games across four hubs around the state.
Australia is already spoiled for choice when it comes to international sport over the next decade from the Olympic Games in 2032 to the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2023, the number of global sporting events over the next 10 years now totals over 30.
The Commonwealth Games Federation, Commonwealth Games Australia and Victoria entered exclusive talks in February 2022 about the games getting awarded to the state for 2026, with the state presenting its plan for the Games last month.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced the four hub structure on Tuesday, with events taking place in Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Gippsland with each including their own athlete's villages as well as select events taking place in Shepparton and Melbourne getting it's own taste of the Games with the Opening Ceremony taking place at the MCG.
The choice to go regional and have four hubs capitalists on the CGF's2026/30 Strategic Roadmap, which aims to make the host more innovative and creative when delivering the Games.
It will be an economic boost for Victoria with current estimates projecting that the Games will contribute more than $3 billion to the state's economy, creating 7,500 jobs, 3,000 of which are expected to last beyond the Closing Ceremony.
At present, there are 16 sports in the programme for the event and more are expected to be announced later this year, with Andrews sharing where each of the sports will take place during the games.
CGF President Dame Louise Martin welcomed the Games' return to Australia for the sixth time, 20 years after Melbourne hosted the 2006 Games.
“The Commonwealth Games Federation is absolutely delighted to award the 2026 Commonwealth Games to Victoria.
“Commonwealth Games Australia and the Victorian Government have set out a bold and innovative vision for hosting our major multi-sport event.
“In Victoria, we believe we have found the perfect partner for the next stage of our journey.
“This is a very special moment for the Commonwealth Sport Family and on behalf of the entire Movement, I would like to congratulate Commonwealth Games Australia and Victoria on their successful Games submission. We now look forward to a bright future as we work together to stage a Commonwealth Games like no other.”
“Australia has staged the Commonwealth Games on five occasions, with Victoria playing host to the Melbourne 2006 Games; widely considered one of the most successful editions of the event in history. Australia also staged the Games in Sydney in 1938, Perth in 1962, Brisbane in 1982 and most recently Gold Coast in 2018. Victoria has also hosted the Commonwealth Youth Games in Bendigo in 2004.”
CGA President Ben Houston said CGA had been seeking a host for 2026 and worked closely with the CGF for the past two years to bring the Commonwealth Games back to Australia.
“Commonwealth Games Australia is thrilled to welcome the athletes of the Commonwealth back to Australia and we look forward to working with both the CGF and the Victorian Government to bring the Games to life across Victoria in 2026.
“A home Games will provide immeasurable benefits for our Member sports and will inspire our athletes in what will be a unique and exciting Games.
“More than that, the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games will play a key role in the development of Australian sport at all levels.
“We will have three editions of the Commonwealth Games in the lead up to the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Brisbane.
“Three ‘Home-Games’ for our athletes and sports in six years, plus the additional benefit of World Cups and World Championship events that will be held in Victoria and across Australia.
“It will be a ‘Green and Gold’ festival for a decade.”