The Australian state of Victoria announced on Tuesday that it will host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, with all sporting events taking place outside of the state capital Melbourne.
The state’s premier, Daniel Andrews, praised the Commonwealth Games Federation for embracing Victoria’s pitch for the international multisports event, admitting that “it’s a bit riskier than just running it in the middle of a large city”.
The 2026 Games will be held in four regional hubs in the towns of Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Gippsland, each with its own athletes’ village.
However, the opening ceremony will be held at Australia’s largest sports stadium, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, which can hold more than 100,000 spectators.
The state has confirmed 16 sports for the Games so far, including aquatics, cycling and Twenty20 cricket, with further announcements promised.
The Commonwealth Games Federation’s president Louise Martin described Victoria’s pitch as “a bold and innovative vision” for the event.
“In Victoria, we believe we have found the perfect partner for the next stage of our journey,” she said.
It will be the sixth time that Australia has staged the Commonwealth Games and the second time in Victoria, after Melbourne hosted the 2006 event.
Andrews said the 2026 Commonwealth Games were expected to bring a “$3 billion boost to the Victorian economy”, which had to weather long lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Australia’s Gold Coast in Queensland was home in 2018 to the last edition of the “Friendly Games”, as the Commonwealth Games are called.
The Games, held every four years, attract more than 4,000 athletes from the 54 nations of the Commonwealth, almost all of whom are former territories of the British Empire.
The 2022 Commonwealth Games are due to be held in Birmingham, England, from July 28 to August 8.