Birmingham 2022: Record breaking Commonwealth Games as nearly half of UK watched

Birmingham 2022 is the most popular Commonwealth Games ever to be hosted in the UK Credit: Birmingham 2022

Almost half of the UK watched or followed the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, according to a new government poll.

A report published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) suggests that the games bought an estimated overall UK audience of more than 20 million across TV and online as well as in person.

There was also a huge boost to visitor numbers during the two weeks of the game, with more than five million people travelling to Birmingham - a 200% increase on the same period in 2021.

A record 1.5 million people bought tickets, making it the most popular Commonwealth Games ever to be hosted in the UK.

The city was decorated for the Commonwealth Games. Credit: PA Images

Nigel Huddleston, Minister for the Commonwealth Games, said: "These results really underline that Birmingham 2022 was more than just the 11 days of fantastic sport.

"The West Midlands and the UK really got behind Birmingham 2022 and recaptured that 2012 spirit, giving the whole country the opportunity to come together and celebrate our amazing athletes. 

"The legacy of the Games has only begun, and I can’t wait to see the region continue to reap the economic, cultural and social benefits from delivering a showstopper summer."

Alexander Stadium Credit: PA Images

£778 million of public money was invested into the Games and, although some projects didn't make it to completion, the Alexander Stadium was transformed and Sandwell Aquatics Centre is now providing elite and community swimmers and divers with a brand new, world-class facility.

It also helped with ongoing investments in Perry Barr, including the refurbishment of the train station.

The event also helped with unemployment, with 40,000 jobs and 14,000 volunteering opportunities.

And, it seems to have left a positive effect on local people too, with six in 10 people from Birmingham and Sandwell saying the Games had a positive economic impact on the area, by supporting the local economy and raising its profile in the UK and abroad.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: "As I reflect on the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, I can honestly say I’ve never felt prouder to be from the West Midlands. This summer’s spectacle must represent a starting point and not a finish line.

"I want to see a lasting legacy for the people of the West Midlands for generations to come and it’s already clear that there is immense potential to deliver just that.

"We brought communities together in a moment of collective celebration, we upskilled thousands of local residents, we doubled our pipeline of inward investment leads, and – with Sandwell Aquatics Centre and the revamped Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr – we’re providing a tangible legacy for future sporting superstars.

"It's great news that Games sporting equipment will now be shared free of charge with local grassroots organisations and I look forward to seeing much more good news in the weeks, months and years ahead."