Adelaide Drops Commonwealth Bid For 2026 As Financial Report Suggests Big Loss

swims in the 2016 Australian Swimming Championships, Day 3 at the SA Aquatic & Leisure Centre in Adelaide onFriday, April 8, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Steve Christo)

Adelaide Drops Commonwealth Bid

Adelaide, a hot tip to win the bid to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, is out of the race, the South Australia Government has announced.

The decision, predicted by Adelaide Now a week ago, came down to ‘too much, too soon’, authorities concluding from studies and research into the viability of the event come 2026 that Adelaide would not get back in benefits even a half of its layout costs, while   worries over a lack of adequate facilities also played a part.

An independent financial analysis of the likely costs of hosting one of the biggest multi-sports competitions on the plane suggested the event would need a budget of AUS$3.5 billion but that only AUS$1.2 billion of economic benefits could be expected to flow back in.

In an official announcement, Corey Wingard, whose official position is the baffling combination of Minister for Police, Emergency Services, Correctional Services, Recreation, Sport and Racing, said: “Although we won’t be bidding for 2026, we have embarked on the state sporting infrastructure plan which will provide the path forward to ensuring we have the best facilities to attract big events to the state in the future.”

“Unfortunately, the cost to the taxpayer was too high to bring the Games to South Australia by 2026, but we remain open to potential bids in 2030 and 2034 as key initiatives from the state sporting infrastructure plan are rolled out.”

Craig Phillips, chief executive officer of Commonwealth Games Australia, lamented that “we were not afforded the opportunity to address the concerns of some Cabinet members”. Adelaide was a “compelling option”, he noted, suggesting that the city most of the required facilities and infrastructure already in place.

The SA Aquatic & Leisure Centre in Adelaide, venue for the Australian Olympic Trials next year, is a case in point but the figures of anticipated in and out simply did not add up for Adelaide for the Games after Birmingham in England hosts in 2022.

Adelaide has history with the Commonwealth Games, losing out to Kuala Lumpur in the bid for the 1998 event before launching a bid for the 2018 Games then withdrawing when Kevin Foley, then South Australian Government treasurer, described the event as “B-grade”. Gold Coast stepped in and hosted in 2018.