Victoria, a southeastern Australia state, will bid to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games. Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed that the state government is in exclusive negotiations with the organising body.
The State of Victoria and Commonwealth Games Australia (CGAus) have already signed a preliminary agreement with the Commonwealth Games Federation. This has begun the formal process leading to a final agreement. If all goes to plan, the document will be signed by the parties in April this year.
Victoria's decision to make a firm statement about hosting the Games was linked to emerging information about possible competitors. Other Australian states have recently expressed their willingness to bid for the event: New South Wales, Adelaide and Tasmania.
The latter city is the capital of the state of Victoria, so it is very likely that this time the athletes will come to Australia's second largest city again.
In the case of the Commonwealth Games, athletes from countries originating from the former British Empire compete in a wide range of disciplines. The events take place at a variety of venues, but always include competition between athletes and rugby players. That is why the largest stadiums located in the state of Victoria will certainly be included among all the arenas.
An Olympic colossus
The largest sports venue in this case is Melbourne Cricket Ground. It is also one of the oldest stadiums in the world. It was built in 1853. Later, it underwent many upgrades, including the last one between 2011 and 2013. Interestingly, no venue on the globe has such high light masts. In total, there are six of them here, each 85 metres high, like a 27-floor building.
The stadium has a capacity of 100,024 seats and is considered the largest cricket venue. Significantly, it was the main arena for the 1956 Summer Olympics. It was also the venue for the athletics competitions at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and is likely to be so in 2026.
Victoria's second largest arena is Docklands Stadium. Or rather, Marvel Stadium, as the venue is so uniquely named under its current sponsorship deal. You may not see Thor or Iron Man here, but the Australian football players who play here are just like iconic superheroes. Indeed, a famous joke about Australia's national sport is that 'the only rule in Australian football is that there are no rules'.
© Russell Charters (cc: by-nc-sa)
The arena has a retractable roof and stands on three levels with a total capacity of over 50,000 spectators. The stadium is currently undergoing its first upgrade since opening in 2000. The work worth $250 million mainly includes fan facilities and commercial spaces.
A stadium with six stands
Another venue being talked about in the context of the 2026 Commonwealth Games is GMHBA Stadium. In contrast, this is an arena located outside Melbourne, about 75 km to the southwest, in Geelong. The stadium owes its current appearance largely to a series of upgrades carried out in the 21st century. Divided into several phases, the redevelopment included a major overhaul of all stands, starting from 2003 up to 2019.
The stadium is divided into six interconnected stands which give the venue its oval shape. Some of them are covered. The characteristic zigzag shape of the roof is one of the most recognisable features of the stadium.
With the footballers in mind
The last of the stadiums that could be used for the 2026 Games is AAMI Park in Melbourne. The venue has a very original design that some associate with the space station. It was the first stadium in Melbourne created with football in mind.
The venue has 30,000 seats, but its fundamentals are already prepared for expansion by another 20,000. The arena is expected to host a football tournament during the 2032 Olympic Games and the finals of the Women's World Cup in 2023. For the Community Games, the stadium can be used for rugby matches.