Commonwealth Games and the Economy

Category: Global Economy Sub-category: World Economy
Document type: article

- Shradha Diwan, Research Analyst
8 Nov, 2010

The Commonwealth Games (CWG) is an international multi-sport event involving athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations. The Commonwealth of Nations, referred to as the Commonwealth and previously known as the British Commonwealth, is an inter-governmental organization of fifty-four independent member states. All but two (Mozambique and Rwanda) of these countries were formerly part of the British Empire. The CWG was initiated with the objective of being a sporting event that would bring together the members of the British Empire. The event was first proposed by Reverend Astley Cooper in 1891 when he wrote an article in The Times suggesting a "Pan-Britannic-Pan-Anglican Contest and Festival every four years as a means of increasing the goodwill and good understanding of the British Empire".

The event was first held in the year 1930 under the title of the British Empire Games in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. 'Bobby' Robinson, who was a major player within athletics in Canada at the time, was the driving force behind the event. The first Games included 400 athletes from 11 countries. To help cover the travelling costs for the visiting nations, the city of Hamilton provided $30,000. The success of the first Games at Hamilton in 1930 provided enough incentive to make them regular. Since 1930, they have taken place every four years except for 1942 and 1946, when they were disrupted due to World War II.


The event was renamed British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1954, the British Commonwealth Games in 1970, and gained its current title in 1978. Only six teams have attended every Commonwealth Games event: Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, Scotland and Wales.

From the first host city of Hamilton in Canada, the Games have been held in many of the major Commonwealth Countries. Canada again held the Games in Vancouver in 1954, Edmonton in 1978 and Victoria in 1994. Australia has also held the games on four occasions, Sydney in 1938, Perth 1962, Brisbane 1982 and Melbourne in 2006. In 1998, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia hosted the games for the first time in an Asian country. In 2010, the XIX CWG returned to Asia and was hosted by more.