• 3×3 Basketball and 3×3 Wheelchair Basketball added to Birmingham 2022 programme
  • Their inclusion marks a hat-trick of firsts for the Commonwealth Games
  • Birmingham’s Victoria Square will provide a stunning city centre venue
  • Birmingham 2022’s Urban Street Festival will sit alongside Basketball at the heart of the Games

Birmingham’s Victoria Square would transform into a sporting and cultural landmark for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, as the bid team unveils the city centre location as the venue for 3×3 Basketball and 3×3 Wheelchair Basketball.

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

Victoria Square in Birmingham City Centre. Showing the Council House and the River artwork by Dhruva Mistry. Locally known as the Floozie in the Jacuzzi.

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

The inclusion of 3×3 Basketball and 3×3 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 3×3 Basketball rather than traditional Basketball will be played
  • the first time that  Wheelchair Basketball has been included, also in the 3×3 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 3×3 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 3×3 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.”

Kare Adenegan, Athletics T34 100m and 800m World Para Athletics Silver and Bronze medallist; Rio 2016 Paralympic Silver and double Bronze Medallist, said:

“Having just competed and won medals at the World Para Athletics Championships in London, I have seen first-hand the passion this country has for all sport, including para-athletics. I know that Birmingham 2022 would surpass this level of support for all athletes across all sports.

“With its plans to upgrade Alexander Stadium as part of its bid, Birmingham 2022 will also leave a powerful legacy, becoming the home of athletics, and inspiring more young people, including those with disabilities, to realise that sport is for them.”

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE, 11 x Paralympic Champion and Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords, said: 

“I think the Commonwealth Games should come to Birmingham. I trained for Sydney in Birmingham and it’s a really good city that’s passionate about sport. It has a lot of great facilities already so you wouldn’t have to build from scratch. And if it’s good enough for Usain Bolt…”

Ellie Simmonds OBE, five-time Paralympic Champion, swimming, said: 

“It is great news that the West Midlands will finally be getting a world-class competition standard swimming pool. When I was a youngster progressing up the rankings I had to move from Walsall to Wales in order to find facilities of the standard I needed to train.

“The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and the Sandwell Aquatics Centre will inspire the next generation of swimmers as well as encourage the local community to enjoy swimming and diving and learn a valuable life skill.

“I am so excited about the possibility of the Commonwealth Games coming to Birmingham and urge everyone to back the Birmingham Bid.”

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.

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[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