How much will the Commonwealth Games cost South Africa?

The Commonwealth Games of 2022 will be coming to the City of Durban, following a unanimous vote by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) in Auckland, New Zealand on Wednesday (2 September).

Durban becomes the first African city to stage the sporting event, and follows previous hosts, Glasgow, Scotland.

Gold Coast, in south-eastern Queensland on the east coast of Australia, is set to host the sporting showpiece in 2018.

According to the Mercury, South Africa paid almost R98 million to bid for the games.

Durban bid chairman and South African Rugby Union vice-president Mark Alexander told ENCA that the host committee budgeted R6.4 billion to host the Games, “and expect a profit of more than that figure”.

“The economic impact of the (New Zealand) All Blacks playing one Test in Johannesburg is R400 million in one week,” Alexander said.

Former DA leader Tony Leon said that the 2014 Commonwealth Games cost the city of Glasgow as much as £575 million – R11.8 billion in today’s local currency.

The £575 million figure included £472.3 million for Glasgow 2014 and £90 million for security, the BBC noted, following the event.

The £472.3 million budget was made up of £372 million of public money with the remainder coming from commercial income generated through sponsorship, ticket sales, broadcasting rights and merchandise sales, the Beeb said.

Glasgow’s organising committee said it sold 1.2 million tickets during the 11 day spectacle in 2014, creating an estimated 1,000 jobs and contributed £52 million (R1 billion) to Scotland’s economy on average in each of the six years leading up to the event through the construction and refurbishment of Games venues and the Athletes’ Village.

It said that Scottish-based businesses won 69% of contracts linked with the Games.

The 2010 Commonwealth Games was held in Delhi, India, with mixed reviews, following less than ideal preparations.

A report by India’s state auditor following the games said that preparations were riddled with favouritism, while the final costs were 16 times more than the original estimate of $270 million.

The report, tabled for India’s parliament said there were serious irregularities with bidding and contracts, with the games eventually costing $4.1 billion (R55 billion).

Revenue, meanwhile, only amounted to $38 million (R512 million), the report found.

With concerns over South Africa’s amended visa regulations, a negative GDP in the last quarter, and a free-falling currency, questions will be raised about the costs involved in hosting a two week sporting event.

However, a report published by the Times, and contained in the Durban 2022 Bid Book said that the games would boost the economy by R20 billion, with R12 billion being generated from an expected 1.4 million visitors.

“The 2022 Commonwealth Games is expected to attract more international visitors than any previous Games, with up to 200,000 visitors expected over the duration of the Games,” the report said.

Benefits include:

  • Generating total spend of R20 billion, which will translate into GPD growth of R11-billion;
  • Creating 11,650 jobs;
  • Training up a significant portion of the 10,000 volunteers, many of whom will be youth from rural areas;
  • Fast-tracking of government projects, such as housing development through the building of the athletes’ village and Durban’s public transport system;
  • Creating a “feel good” factor by replicating the carnival atmosphere of past Games; and
  • Reducing crime.

Committee lead, Alexander said that “the Commonwealth Games in Durban will be a game changer for the city”.

The Mayor of the City of Durban, James Nxumalo, said: “Today marks a gigantic leap in the affirmation and positive trajectory for the continent of Africa. It is a moment to seize and firmly anchor our position as a decisive force in sports worldwide.”

“There can be no better symbolism for South Africa and the Commonwealth of Nations to mark its first ever Games in 2022 in Africa with the opening ceremony on 18 July – the birthday of the greatest statesman of our times, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, a hero and role model for many, young and old – Nelson Mandela”, he said.

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How much will the Commonwealth Games cost South Africa?