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Report highlights positive impact of Birmingham 2022

The government’s ‘one year on’ evaluation report shows the lasting impact the Commonwealth Games has had on widening access to sport and physical activity.

8th April 2024

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has today published an evaluation report of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, detailing the social and economic impacts of the showpiece event in Birmingham.

It provides an in-depth analysis of the Games’ wide-ranging legacy across both the West Midlands and the UK as a whole, in areas such as skills, education, culture, business development – and, of course, sport and physical activity.

One of the Games’ stated ambitions was to inspire and enable people to improve and sustain levels of physical activity, with a particular focus on the most inactive and under-represented groups.

That aligned perfectly with the goals of our Uniting the Movement strategy and we invested £35 million – a combination of government and National Lottery money – on new facilities and other projects designed to increase participation levels.

And following the Games we agreed a 10-year, £5.5m partnership with the West Midlands Combined Authority, with the aim of making it easier for the region’s residents to walk, cycle, take part in exercise and play sport more frequently.

A general view of the athletics stadium at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham

"The evaluation report for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games is very heartening. It illustrates – done right – the legacy of major events can be positive for improving access to sport and physical activity," said our chief executive, Tim Hollingsworth.

"The Games gave us a wonderful platform to create lasting impact at community level across the country by bringing us together through sport, community and friendship.

"Through Uniting the Movement, we’re committed to tackling the deep-rooted inequalities that prevent some people from enjoying the benefits of an active lifestyle.

"So our £35million investment in the Games was targeted where it was most needed, delivering new facilities and creating ongoing volunteering and activity opportunities for local communities in the West Midlands.

"I’m proud of what we have achieved already and, through our 10-year partnership with the West Midlands Combined Authority, we’ll continue to create inclusive opportunities for people to play sport and get active.”

"The evaluation report for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games is very heartening. It illustrates – done right – the legacy of major events can be positive for improving access to sport and physical activity,"

Tim Hollingsworth

Chief executive, Sport England

Two of the facilities we invested in for the Games were Cannock Chase Forest and the Sandwell Aquatics Centre. The DCMS report highlights that, one month after Sandwell opened, it had acquired 4,400 members and welcomed over 60,000 visitors, with 70% of these participants coming from the top 30% most deprived areas.

Commonwealth Games Federation president Chris Jenkins OBE said: "Birmingham 2022 was a spectacular, record-breaking Games that created iconic moments on and off the field, uniting the Commonwealth through sport. 

"It was so much more than 11 days of sporting competition. The report outlines the positive impact and lasting legacy of the Games, which contributed £1.2 billion to the UK economy and £79.5 million in social value.

"It drove trade and inward investment, created jobs and boosted tourism, with visitor numbers to Birmingham and the West Midlands in 2022 the highest on record. From increased civic pride and social cohesion, to promoting community sport participation, the Games were truly transformational."

A fish-eye lens view of a crowd and swimming pool at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre during the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Other key sport and physical activity findings from the report include:

  • Games-related activities engaged a total of 6.9 million attendees, participants, volunteers and employees, and participation data shows a large proportion were from Birmingham and the West Midlands.
  • Visits to leisure centres in the local authorities where the Games were hosted increased by 17% from pre- to post-Games, in comparison to a 5% increase in neighbouring areas that did not host the Games.
  • A range of Games-related programmes and initiatives were delivered with the aim of removing community barriers to being active and improving levels of physical activity locally. These included: 
    • support provided by the 21 national governing bodies (NGBs) involved in the Games to over 402,300 participants through the rollout of various sports programmes and events. We invested £6.5m in these NGBs to develop innovative, non-traditional or digital ideas to drive participation.
    • 70 Active Street festivals held with over 10,400 participants.
    • over 2,450 schools engaging with Games-related Daily Mile resources.
    • 16,000 pieces of used Games equipment provided free of charge or donated to over 290 West Midlands organisations.

The publication of the report comes in the week when our chair, Chris Boardman, will be joining Sports Minister Stuart Andrew at the SportAccord World Sport and Business Summit, which brings together global sport business leaders and is being hosted at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham.

"With over 1.5 million tickets sold, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games was a record-breaking event that is still having a positive impact on the region two years on," said Mr Andrew.

"This report shows that hosting major sporting events in this country boosts growth, creates jobs and has a lasting social impact for communities and some of the world’s best athletes will once again descend on Birmingham for the European Athletics Championships in 2026."

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