Basketball and Urban Street Festival at heart of Birmingham’s bid

Published: Thursday, 10th August 2017

Birmingham’s Victoria Square would transform into a sporting and cultural landmark for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Set against the historic backdrop of the Council House and Town Hall, 3x3 Basketball in the open-air of Victoria Square, will showcase the city as well as the youngest Commonwealth Games sport.

Whilst an outdoor venue, the basketball court and asymmetric seating bowl (capacity for 3,000) will be covered, ensuring 3x3 Basketball in Victoria Square will deliver an intimate and vibrant atmosphere that fans will love.

The inclusion of 3x3 Basketball and 3x3 Wheelchair Basketball would mark a hat-trick of firsts for Birmingham 2022. It would be:

  • the first time Basketball will be hosted at a Commonwealth Games outside Australia [1]
  • the first time that 3x3 Basketball rather than traditional Basketball will be played
  • the first time that Wheelchair Basketball has been included, also in the 3x3 format [2]

This centrepiece of urban sport in the heart of the city will be enhanced by the Urban Street Festival, a key cultural component of Birmingham’s bid which underpins the vision of ‘heart of the UK and soul of the Commonwealth’, providing a Games that embraces youth and diversity.

Blended throughout Birmingham’s broader cultural programme, the Festival will celebrate urban street sport activity: sport without boundaries, music, lifestyle, and a healthy legacy. Activities will include free running, skateboarding, BMX, street dance and sport climbing.

The Urban Street Festival will create a bridge between sport and culture integrating into the Live Sites, civic and community experience and other cultural elements of the Games and will run in parallel with the sports competition.

Olympic Gold medallist for Team USA, and one of the greatest NBA players in basketball history, Hakeem ‘The Dream’ Olajuwon, now lives in Birmingham and is a huge supporter of the Birmingham 2022 Bid:

“My family moved to Birmingham when my daughter came to study at university here. We have received a fantastic welcome and love the warmth and inclusivity of everyone we have met. I have been amazed at the passion and ;ability of the young players at the City of Birmingham Basketball Club in Nechells and think the inclusion of 3x3 basketball at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games would provide a huge inspiration for the next generation of players.

“Basketball promotes courage, teamwork and how to succeed which are great values for youngsters to learn, whatever their background. I’m supporting Birmingham 2022 and hope they bring the Games to this great city.”

Gary Topp, CEO, Culture Central, said:

“Birmingham’s Bid is about more than just sport. Our vision of heart of the UK, soul of the Commonwealth applies equally to our culture, education and legacy programmes and our ambition is to provide a Games that embraces youth and diversity.

“The Urban Street Festival will complement our sports programme and provide a bridge to our cultural festival. It is about celebrating the talent of our communities and encouraging activity and participation in everything from dance to BMX and creating opportunities to engage with young people across the Midlands, the UK and the Commonwealth.

“We are really excited about engaging with local communities and showing off Birmingham’s fantastic urban landscape to the world through this legacy initiative.”

Ian Ward, Chair of the Commonwealth Games Bid Company, said:

“Birmingham is synonymous with its urban structure with its streets and buildings a patchwork of the region’s industrial and manufacturing heritage, filled with a diverse and dynamic community. It made sense to recognise this within our Bid through the inclusion of urban sport in the heart of our city.

“We are really excited about bringing 3x3 Basketball to the Games and enhancing our sports programme through the parallel Urban Street Festival. This will help leave a legacy of inspiring a new audience to engage with sport and activity.”

Birmingham is a world leader in delivering major sporting and cultural events, including: the ICC Champions Trophy and The Ashes at Edgbaston; Rugby World Cup fixtures at Villa Park; Diamond League athletics meetings at the Alexander Stadium; the Aegon Classic tennis championships at the Edgbaston Priory Club; the Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships; and the UCI BMX Championships.

The city also hosts over 50 festivals annually, including Simmer Down, Nowka Bais: traditional Bangladeshi Dragon Boat Racing, and the major Weekender and International Dance Festivals that fill Victoria Square and the city centre with activity, local talent and international excellence every year.

Birmingham’s festivals celebrate the urban and community heart of the city with everything from film to heavy metal, books to jazz. Each year a new theme is explored that celebrates a key facet of city life: 2016 was youth, 2017 South Asia and 2018 will be Movement.


Backing #BrumBid2022

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About the Birmingham 2022 Bid

Sitting at the heart of the UK, and standing for the diversity of the Commonwealth, Birmingham is well positioned to attract people to the Games and to ensure that the benefits of hosting extend from the city and the region, to the UK, to the Commonwealth. The advancement of the UK’s global role and the Commonwealth movement is integral to our vision of Birmingham: heart of the UK, soul of the Commonwealth.

Birmingham 2022 will comprise 20 sports taking place across 19 venues. These sports and venues were selected following careful assessment of Commonwealth Games Federation guidelines regarding athletes’ needs, the technical specifications, seating capacity and Games-time logistics.

As part of the selection process, the bid committee looked closely at how to utilise Birmingham’s wealth of existing sports venues and facilities, ensuring connectivity and accessibility and maximising spectator numbers.

The list of sports below showcases all those we have announced publicly so far. More sports and venues will be announced in due course:



Athletics, incl Para

Alexander Stadium

Aquatics, incl Para and Diving

New Sandwell Aquatics Centre


Genting Arena

Basketball (3x3), incl Para

Victoria Square


NEC Hall 1

Gymnastics (Artistic and Rhythmic)

Barclaycard Arena


University of Birmingham


NEC Hall 4


Ericsson Indoor Arena, at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry

Rugby 7s

Villa Park Stadium


University of Birmingham

Table Tennis, incl Para

NEC Hall 5

Weightlifting and Para Powerlifting

Symphony Hall

Wrestling (freestyle)

NEC Hall 4


Birmingham’s bid has the full support of the wider Midlands region, including: Birmingham City Council; three regional local enterprise partnerships: Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP; Black Country LEP; Coventry and Warwickshire LEP; the West Midlands Combined Authority and the newly elected Mayor of West Midlands, Andy Street; the West Midlands Growth Company; and the Midlands Engine. In addition, Birmingham’s bid is supported by The Birmingham Commonwealth Association.

[1] To date, only Melbourne 2006 and the forthcoming Gold Coast 2018 Games have included Basketball

[2] Wheelchair Basketball has been played at previous Commonwealth Paraplegic Games, but never within the core Commonwealth Games programme

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