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Behind the scenes at the Commonwealth Games – Part 1

Behind the scenes at the Commonwealth Games – Part 1

Over the next few days we will look back over the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and take you behind the scenes. 

We were so proud to host the Commonwealth Games hockey, squash and hundreds of officials and athletes on campus. You’ve seen the glorious views of Old Joe and the brilliant TV coverage. Our new series of blogs will show the effort that went on behind the scenes, and made the magic happen.

First up is Sally Badham, Conferences and Events’ Head of Commercial and Account Management:

My team drives sales for conferences and events on university campus, at the Edgbaston Park Hotel, The Exchange and student accommodation. It is essential that we identify opportunities to use our facilities to ensure investment can continue to prosper for students’ futures, and shine light on the incredible West Midlands institution that we’re part of.

The Commonwealth Games has made a huge impact and it was phenomenal to see the display of talented, international athletes on our hockey and squash courts.

The Games created a huge opportunity. From the start, we were set to house 1,500 members of the Games workforce. But due to the delay in construction of the Perry Barr Village, we ended up housing 3,200 athletes from across the world! Because I had already built up good relationships with the police, sponsors, partners and sport officials, I was able to explore a vast array of creative opportunities which maximised use of our facilities and underlined the University’s strength as an official hosting partner.

Image of Sally Badham.
Sally Badham, Conferences and Events’ Head of Commercial and Account Management.

We knew the Commonwealth Games would reduce accessibility and limit parking, so we made the decision to only concentrate only on sports-related events from the middle of July. We ended up hosting major sporting events like the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme Conference (TASS) at the Teaching and Learning Building, Team Jamaica’s Fundraising Dinner, as well as the Department of International Trade at The Exchange (UK House), and corporate hospitality receptions at Cuore for our sponsors and VIP guests.

Within my role, you never really get a mediocre day. You get to meet a bunch of interesting characters, people from different cultures and backgrounds. It was endearing to know that my connection with the Jamaican Team’s organiser and their decision to host at the University had sprung from our earlier encounter back in 2012, when we hosted their fundraiser for the London 2012 Games.

I was also rather fortunate to attend the dress rehearsal of the Opening Ceremony, the Gold Medal Hockey Match, the final of the T20 Women’s Cricket, and the Closing Ceremony.

Seeing our campus dressed in the Games’ branding, filled with hundreds of excited guests, crowds and volunteers made it beyond magical.

As a University and as part of the Conference & Events Team, we’ve taken up the challenge and smashed it out of court.

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