Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games: a new era of women's sport
By Tracey Croft, Research Director
The 21st edition of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games are due to start in the West Midlands from 28th July, we have the opportunity to watch the pinnacle of sporting talent from across 54 countries. As the excitement ramps up this year’s games will stand out not only as the first to have post pandemic protocols in place (which will hopefully not be needed) but also for its inclusion of the largest ever female and para sporting event programme in history.
Nigel Adams, UK Minister for Sport, Media and Creative Industries said, “It is the first time any major multi-sport competition has more medal events for women than men and builds on the incredible growth of women’s sport”.
The games hope to inspire a new generation into sports with a target of directly engaging at least one million children and young people within its wider legacy programme, alongside an aim to continue this growing focus on promoting females in sports. This has been reflective of a wider growing interest across female sporting events - recently tickets to watch the Women's Euro 2022 Lionesses at Wembley sold out within an hour.
The Women’s Sport Trust, a UK charity focused on using the power of sport to accelerate gender equality and stimulate social change, has revealed that 2022 is due to set a record for women’s sporting coverage; influenced by the anticipated Commonwealth Games, Euros and Women’s Six Nation events. In the first quarter of 2022 viewership of women’s sports reached a new peak with 15.1 million Brits watching at least 3 minutes of women’s sports coverage, rising from 5.06m in 2021.
The BBC anticipate more than 35 million people tuning in to its coverage of the games across the 11-day event. It has planned over 200 hours of live coverage across platforms with a large proportion based in a purpose-built studio erected in Birmingham’s Centenary Square to make it as easy as possible to keep up with the action. If it takes a lead from the efforts of the Tokyo Olympics it will aim to offer an equal gender balance across its events coverage and its female lead team of hosts including Hazel Irvine, Clare Balding, Gabby Logan and Holly Hamilton suggest that the BBC is going to get this coverage right.
Along with enjoying the games coverage the Echo Research team are progressing our three-year research programme among visitors, leisure travellers and business audiences to evaluate the impact of the Commonwealth Games’ Business and Tourism Programme on behalf of the West Midlands Growth Company, Department for International Trade and VisitBritain.