Push for Adelaide to reconsider 2026 Commonwealth Games bid

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) have begun a push for the South Australian government to reconsider a bid for the 2026 Commonwealth Games to be held in Adelaide, with a report suggesting it could boost the local economy by A$2.5 billion ($1.79 billion).

South Australia’s government said late last year that it would not proceed with a potential bid after a report that suggested the economic benefit would only be $A1.2 billion.

There was also a lack of key sporting infrastructure that a successful bid would need to provide.

CGA, however, commissioned a report from business consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) that showed spending on Games infrastructure and hosting the event in 2026 would help aid the state government’s post-COVID economic strategies.

“Of course we understand the current climate in which we are all in,” CGA President Ben Houston said in a statement on Friday after making the report public.

“However like our athletes, we must look forward and it is our view that a Commonwealth Games in South Australia would provide the launch pad for a range of projects that leave a long lasting legacy for all South Australians.”

The report added a successful bid would help boost tourism and foreign trade and also attract international students to Adelaide.

It said the cost for Games operations, security and upgrading sporting infrastructure would be about A$1.49 billion, of which the state government would be responsible for A$1.1 billion.

Based on previous Games, however, the report said that South Australia could see A$2.5 billion in added economic benefit from increased visitor spending, the government stimulus initiatives and “additional flow on effects”.

Houston added that the Commonwealth Games Federation had changed its requirements for the delivery of future Games, which resulted in significant cost savings for host cities and governments.

Adelaide has never hosted the Commonwealth Games, with the most recent event being held on Australia’s Gold Coast in 2018.

The next Commonwealth Games will be held in Birmingham in England in 2022.

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Michael Perry