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Regional Victorian stadiums to host 2026 Commonwealth Games

Austadiums | Saturday 16th April 2022
Mars Stadium in Ballarat

Victoria has been confirmed as the host of the 2026 Commonwealth Games, with regional venues to be upgraded to host events, including Mars Stadium.

The 23rd Commonwealth Games are the first awarded to state or region in its entire 92-year history, and the second to be staged in Victoria, after Melbourne hosted the Games in 2006.

While the Melbourne Cricket Ground will again host the Opening Ceremony, it won’t host athletics events this time around, with sports to be staged at regional venues around Victoria.

Ballarat’s Mars Stadium will host the athletics events, however details are yet to be revealed for its upgrade, with redevelopment plans expected to be announced after the Victorian State Budget on the May 3.

Ballarat City CEO Mr Evan King has been quoted in the Ballarat Courier indicating that the stadium is likely to be permanently expanded to a 20,000 capacity as part of an upgrade,  with temporary grandstands to expand it to 30,000 for the Games.

Upgrades are also expected to include new lighting as well as the addition of a permanent athletics track nearby, upgrading of the adjacent Midland Highway and possible construction of a new Northern train station nearby.

The fifth Commonwealth Games to be staged in Australia will take place across four regional hubs: Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Gippsland, each containing an athletes’ village, while Shepparton will also host events.

Likely to take place in March 2026, the Games will at this stage feature 16 sports – with more likely to be added, meaning other locations could host events.

Sporting venues across the state will receive upgrades in preparation for 2026, although details on which venues and the extent of their improvements are yet to be confirmed.

2026 Commonwealth Games Sports & Regions

  • Aquatics (swimming, para swimming and diving) - Geelong
  • Athletics and para athletics - Ballarat
  • Badminton - Gippsland
  • Beach volleyball - Geelong
  • Boxing - Ballarat
  • Cricket T20 -  Geelong, Gippsland, Ballarat, Bendigo
  • Cycling  - Gippsland to Bendigo
  • Gymnastics - Geelong
  • Hockey - Geelong
  • Lawn bowls and para lawn bowls - Bendigo
  • Netball  - Bendigo
  • Rugby Sevens - Gippsland
  • Squash - Bendigo
  • Table tennis and para table tennis  - Geelong  
  • Triathlon and para triathlon  - Geelong
  • Weightlifting and para powerlifting – Bendigo

2026 Commonwealth Games Stadiums

At this stage, venues haven’t been confirmed for the 2026 event, with the exception of the opening ceremony at the MCG and athletics at Mars Stadium. Kardinia Park will likely host T20 cricket, with other venues to be confirmed in late 2022.

2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony - MCG

The games are expected to contribute $3 billion to Victoria’s economy and create thousands of jobs.

The Commonwealth Games were last held on the Gold Coast in 2018, with Metricon Stadium hosting the ceremonies and athletics, while Birmingham will host the Games this year.

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Victoria has been confirmed as the host of the 2026 Commonwealth Games, with regional venues to be upgraded to host events, including Mars Stadium.
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