Today is another major milestone on the road to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games as it marks 1,000 days to go until the opening ceremony. It’s therefore a good chance for us to take stock of what we’ve achieved so far and think about the challenge that lies ahead, before we step into the global spotlight on 27 July 2022.
Since I started work on this project 18 months ago, we’ve already recruited nearly 100 employees and I’m delighted that so many local people have chosen to join us in our mission to organise the best possible Games. By the time the Games start we’ll directly employ around 1,200 people.
We’ve recently expanded our sports programme, adding women’s cricket, beach volleyball and para table tennis and so we’ll now host 19 sports. Eight of these sports will have fully integrated para events, meaning that Birmingham 2022 will have the biggest ever para sports offering.
In July we marked three years to go with a festival that celebrated some of the region’s sport stars, culture and food, providing a taste of what’s to come in 2022 and we used this opportunity to unveil our new brand, activate our new website and launch our first major advertising campaign, the stars of which were all local people, demonstrating just one of the ways that we’re making this the Games for everyone.
Ticketing is something else that we’re working on right now, as when you have more than 1.3 million tickets to sell you need to make sure you’ve got the right systems and strategy in place. Tickets won’t go on sale until after the Tokyo Olympics but we already receive regular enquiries, demonstrating the level of interest the Games is attracting.
Birmingham 2022 will have a full cultural programme, as the Games is so much more than 11 days of sport. There’s the opening and closing ceremonies to organise, plus the Queen’s Baton Relay, which traditionally visits every single one of the 71 nations and territories that will participate in the Games and we’ll host live sites, giving residents and visitors alike the opportunity to gather together to celebrate the Games.
We know from previous Games that Birmingham 2022 will leave a positive economic legacy – in 2018 the Gold Coast saw an uplift of £1bn to their economy. This is truly transformational and with 41,000 Games-time roles set to be created, and over 6,500 businesses already signed up and receiving information about the opportunities to help us deliver the Commonwealth Games, the positive impact will spread far beyond the West Midlands, bringing more jobs, improving skills, and creating a generation that can say ‘I was there, and I helped make that happen’.
As with any event of this magnitude, it can’t be delivered without the help of a huge number of partners and we look forward to working with everyone to organise a spectacular event that will provide Birmingham with the global attention it truly deserves and provide a source of pride and inspiration for years to come.