Birmingham Aims To Highlight City's Revival Through Commonwealth Games
It is the sporting event "nobody seems to want: Birmingham is the only city proposing to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games," according to Andrew Bounds of the FINANCIAL TIMES. But the U.K.’s second-largest city believes that staging the Games "would highlight Birmingham’s transformation after decades of industrial decline." West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said, "It is an opportunity to show our progress ... to mark the way the region is really bouncing back. We have never had the chance to host something of international renown." Birmingham has been "contending with decline after its carmaking and other manufacturing industries were undercut by overseas competitors." However, the economy of greater Birmingham -- the area covering the city of 1.1 million people and eight outlying boroughs with a further 860,000 -- is "growing fast again." Manufacturing success is symbolized by Jaguar Land Rover, the carmaker now owned by India’s Tata Group, and the area has "diversified into other sectors, such as professional services and technology." While the Commonwealth Games are much smaller than the Olympics, "they are nevertheless a significant sporting event." The 2018 Commonwealth Games, taking place on Australia’s Gold Coast in April, will involve 6,600 athletes, team officials from 70 nations and territories and 18 different sports. Glasgow, which hosted the 2014 Commonwealth Games, spent £543M on the event. Birmingham's bill should be lower as 95% of its venues are already built -- "although some need upgrading" (FT, 10/16).