Victoria will host the 2026 Commonwealth Games with the regional centers of the Australian state hosting the majority of events in a break from the traditional model of the only host city.
The Games will be held in March 2026 in multiple cities and regional hubs, including Melbourne, Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Gippsland, each with its own athletic village.
The opening ceremony will take place at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground with 100,000 capacity, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) announced on Tuesday.
The announcement follows an exclusive dialogue period between the CGF, Commonwealth Games Australia (CGAus) and Victoria.
A first 16 sports, including Twenty20 cricket, have been nominated for the Games, with other sports to be added later this year.
Daniel Andrews, Prime Minister of Victoria said: “It is a great honor to have chosen Victoria as the host for the 2026 Commonwealth Games – we can not wait to welcome the world in all our state.
“The Commonwealth Games in Regional Victoria are great for jobs, hospitality and our economy.”
Australia has hosted the Commonwealth Games five times, with Victoria hosting the 2006 Melbourne Games; widely regarded as one of the most successful editions of the event in history.
The country also hosted the Games in Sydney in 1938, Perth in 1962, Brisbane in 1982 and most recently the Gold Coast in 2018. Victoria also hosted the Commonwealth Youth Games in Bendigo in 2004.
Dame Louise Martin, CGF President said: “The Commonwealth Games Federation is absolutely delighted to announce the 2026 Commonwealth Games to Victoria. Commonwealth Games Australia and the Victorian Government have put forward a bold and innovative vision for hosting our great multi- sporting event.In Victoria, we believe we have found the perfect partner for the next stage of our journey.
The 2026 Games will be the 23rd edition of the large multi-sport competition, which first started in Hamilton, Canada in 1930.
Victoria is a world-leading major events and tourist destination. The state has a strong track record for organizing high profile sports competitions, including the Australian Open tennis grand slam, the Melbourne Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Melbourne Cup.
The state also regularly hosts elite cricket, golf and Australian Rules Football competitions.