What are the Commonwealth Games, where are they in 2022 and how can you get tickets to see your favorite sports stars?

The Commonwealth Games 2022 will return to the UK

A general view of fireworks during the Closing Ceremony for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Carrara Stadium on April 15, 2018
(Image credit: Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

The Commonwealth Games 2022 might seem like a world away as athletes continue to go for gold in the closing stages of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. But if you’re eager to watch your favorite sporting heroes, then next year could be the chance you’ve been waiting for. 

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics have captured the imaginations of viewers across the world since the Opening Ceremony on July 23. Filled with highs and lows, fans were delighted to see superstar gymnast Simone Biles confirm her return to the Olympic Games and to learn just how much an Olympic medal is worth. Now, as the final days of competition commence, fans will no doubt be sad to see so many iconic sports stars depart from their daily TV schedules. 

Though whilst the next Olympics is still 3 years away, the Commonwealth Games will return next year, bringing with it a chance to see the athletes compete once more for global glory.   

But what are the Commonwealth Games, where will they be held in 2022 and how can you get tickets? Here’s everything you need to know ahead of next year's event...

What are the Commonwealth Games? 

Like the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games are held every four years, with the last Commonwealth Games taking place in 2018 in Australia’s Gold Coast. The Commonwealth Games is an international multi-sport event which sees athletes representing countries from the Commonwealth of Nations compete. 

The Games might not be on quite the same huge scale as the Olympic Games, which this year has seen an astonishing 206 countries compete in Tokyo. 

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But at the last Commonwealth Games in 2018, a similarly momentous 71 teams participated, including all four Home Nations of the United Kingdom: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This is compared to the first ever Commonwealth Games in 1930 in Hamilton, Canada, where 11 countries sent 400 athletes to compete in just six sports and 59 events. The Games have been held ever since and after various name changes throughout the years, it’s from 1978 that the current name, Commonwealth Games, was established.

What countries compete at the Commonwealth Games? 

Athletes competing in the Commonwealth Games appear representing countries from the Commonwealth of Nations. This is a collection of countries that have historically been linked constitutionally in some way to Great Britain, apart from Mozambique. All 54 members of the Commonwealth have signed up to a set of values which include democracy, gender equality and international peace and security. 

The countries that have previously competed at the Commonwealth Games include, amongst many others, the Home Nations’ teams, Australia, New Zealand, Bahamas, Bermuda, Jamaica, Malawi, Malaysia, Samoa, Singapore, Uganda, Zambia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, India and Cyprus. Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of the Commonwealth and it is for this significant reason that she officially opens the Games at the Opening Ceremony.

However, as the Commonwealth Games are restricted to member states of the Commonwealth of Nations, there are several countries who have shone throughout the years at the Olympics who sporting fans will not see compete at the Commonwealth Games. This includes the United States, China, Japan and Russia, who are all currently in the top 10 in the Tokyo Olympic leader board with just three days of competition left.

Where are the Commonwealth Games 2022?

The Commonwealth Games 2022 will be held in Birmingham in the UK from July 28-August 8, showcasing the West Midlands to the world. Birmingham already has multiple existing sports venues, arenas and conference halls that are ideal for hosting the 283 medal events during the Games. 

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There will also be venues hosting disciplines in neighboring Sandwell and Solihull boroughs, Coventry and Wolverhampton and Coventry, as well as Royal Leamington Spa in Warwickshire, and Cannock Chase in Staffordshire. As reported by the BBC, as the one-year countdown to the Commonwealth Games 2022 began last month, chief executive Ian Reid revealed his hopes that it could raise spirits.

"After a challenging 18 months for everyone, we are sure that the Games and the six-month culture programme, which will accompany it, will give us all something to look forward to,” he declared.

How to get tickets for the Commonwealth Games 2022 

Just like in previous years, Commonwealth Games 2022 tickets will be awarded through two public ballots. According to the official Birmingham 2022 website, the organizers believe that this is the fairest way to ensure everyone gets the chance to attend the Games next year. 

The Main Ballot will take place September 8-30 2021 and will be open to everyone, with the majority of tickets being available in this. But if you’re hoping to be in with a shout, there is a specific process you will need to follow to submit to the ballot. 

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Each day is broken down into ‘sessions’, some of which will include medal ceremonies and some finals where the medalists are decided. If you are successful, each ticket will provide access to one of the sessions that was applied for. And it’s not decided on a first come, first served basis, so they advise browsing the full competition schedule to decide which sessions you’re most interested in. To apply for Commonwealth Games 2022 tickets, you must first create a ticketing account via the official ticketing site.

It’s from September 8 when the Main Ballot opens that you will then be able to go to the ticketing site and log in via your account to select sessions, number of tickets and which price of tickets you wish to apply for. 

Jessica Trengove of Australia competes during the Women's marathon on day 11 of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games

(Image credit: Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Only one application can be submitted, but for anyone who later changes their mind, they are able to withdraw the application and submit a new one before the ballot closes on September 30.

After the closing date, the ballot will be run and according to the official website, successful sports fans will be notified by email within 30 days, with full payment being taken within 72 hours of the email notification.

How much are Commonwealth Games tickets?  

As declared on the Birmingham 2022 website, Commonwealth Games 2022 tickets start from £8 for under 16s and £15 for adults. There are also £22 tickets available for every session of the Games, including for the prestigious medal sessions, and for the always entertaining Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

For anyone who's sad to see the Tokyo 2020 Olympics come to an end, there's never been a better time to check out what's upcoming at the Commonwealth Games 2022, ready for when the ballot opens next month. 

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use , Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!