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Birmingham 2022: Organisers Hopeful of Surpassing Revenue, Ticket Sales Targets

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As the Commonwealth Games 2022 get underway in Birmingham, organisers are confident this year’s ticket sales will surpass ticket sales registered at Glasgow 2014 and meet commercial revenue expectations.

Speaking at Arena Birmingham, the gymnastics host venue during the multi-sport event, Ian Reid, chief executive of Birmingham 2022 said they are on track to be the best attended Commonwealth Games ever in the UK.

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“We are close to selling 1.3 million tickets, so within the next couple of days, we should have overtaken Glasgow’s ticket sales.

“There’s a huge appetite in the city. We have the largest sports programme so not every session is sold out, but history would tell us there’s a huge uptake of tickets during the event themselves (online and through box offices).

“We are very much hoping we will be at capacity – or near capacity – at most 2014 raised £33.9m in revenues from the sale hoping we will be at capacity.

Birmingham 2022 has also now outstripped the Gold Coast 2018 Games in Australia in terms of tickets sold. Those Games brought in €45.4m in ticketing revenue with over 1.2 million seats shifted.

Quizzed about the knock-on effect of the UK’s current ‘cost of living crisis’ on spending, Reid suggested any impact was negligible.

“We were particularly nervous when we first went on sale a year ago with a first ballot during the Covid-19 pandemic” he stated.

“We were nervous about whether people would commit to coming to a Games a year or so away and pay upfront to do that. After day one, all of those nerves diminished because we had a record uptake.”

Reid, who was also a chief financial officer of Glasgow in 2014, added: “We have got limited numbers of re-sale tickets [available]. Despite us having one day of a rail strike and a ‘cost of living crisis, we have not seen a material dent in the sales.”

The minimum ticket price at Birmingham 2022 is set at £8 for under 16s and £15 for adults. There are also £22 tickets available at every session, including those where medals will be won. Organisers feel that the addition of women’s T20 cricket, beach volleyball, para table tennis and 3×3 basketball to the programme in Birmingham has helped to drive interest among the public.

Reid said the organisers are confident of delivering the event within the £778m budget agreed back in 2019. It is the most expensive sports event in the UK since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Following complications related to the pandemic, the organising committee had to fund a change of village plan and added tens of millions of pounds in pandemic-related costs like hygiene and testing regimes.

The UK government agreed to cover 76 per cent (£594m) of the budget with Birmingham City Council and “Partners investment” responsible for the remainder.

The Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018 editions each comfortably exceeded £100m in commercial revenues and Birmingham 2022 was expecting to do the same.

Sponsorship income was boosted by the top-tier additions of health and hygiene products manufacturer Reckitt and digital bank Chase in deals announced in May. Water utility company Severn Trent was also upgraded to a top-tier sponsor, joining watchmaker Longines, energy company Eon and the University of Birmingham.

Responding to the impact of the late sponsorship additions to the revenues registered, Reid replied: “Working closely with the Commonwealth Games Federation (GCF) and the Partnerships model, we are in a good place in terms of the commercial revenue target.

“The challenges that have been thrown at us have had a budgetary impact in that the cost of these Games we never anticipated. The pandemic has had an impact in particular in terms of all the changes and plans we had to put in place and the resilience we’ve had to build.

“Even from right back at bid stage, the public money has not moved and we will deliver these Games within these resources. That includes the commercial targets right across sponsorship, ticketing, broadcast rights and the merchandising programme.”

In 2017, the Commonwealth Games Federation teamed up with the Sportfive agency on its commercial rights sales, forming the GCF partnerships entity.

Glasgow 2014 brought in £118m in commercial revenue.

This was made up of: £43.6m in sponsorship income; £33.9m in ticketing revenue; £33m in broadcast rights revenues; £1.8m from merchandising and licensing; and £5.7m from ‘other’ commercial revenues.

Commercial revenue at Gold Coast in 2018 totalled £129m. At current conversion rates, the breakdown was as follows: £47.7m from sponsorship; £37.9m from ticketing; £37.6m from broadcast rights; £1.6m from licensing; and £4.3m from ‘other’ revenues.

The Commonwealth Games which kicked off in Birmingham on Thursday, July 28 will conclude on Monday, August 8.

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