When Victoria announced it was dumping the 2026 Commonwealth Games like nuclear waste, it sent shock waves through the sporting world.

But it will be the second time in a row the originally anointed host destination hasn’t seen the Games to the finish line, after Durban was removed in 2022.

Victoria hardly had to beat off rival contenders, a far cry from the prize fight bidding war for the coveted Olympics.

Which begs the question — which event is preferable to host?

Commonwealth Games says Victoria made it harder than it had to

Industry figures say the Andrews government’s “regional or bust” model was uniquely expensive and vulnerable to blowouts. It relied on creating brand new infrastructure — in some cases, to be later torn down again.

And it didn’t have to.

Furious Commonwealth Games authorities say the Andrews government ignored concerns raised and advice offered when cost blowouts became evident.

Bronte Campbell and Cate Campbell hold their gold and silver medals, while raising an Australian flag behind them

Commonwealth Games hosts technically only need to include athletics and swimming. (AAP: Dave Hunt)

They point out the only mandated sports are athletics and swimming. Apart from that, under reforms in 2021, hosts can cap numbers, cull sports, and do basically whatever they need to make sure the event is viable.

It’s something the Olympics officially recognised back in 2018 with its “New Norm” reforms, introducing more flexibility for host countries to use existing infrastructure.

As Victoria’s Harry Houdini act enters the annals of sporting history, “existing infrastructure” will surely become the new sexy at bidding processes across the globe.

Olympics get lucrative broadcast deals in advance

The Olympics’ governing body knows their media revenues several years before any Games. The 2026 Commonwealth Games didn’t even have a deal just three years out.

Hans Westerbeek, professor of international sports business at Victoria University, says that can be “make or break”.

“The host of Olympic Games know how much money they will receive from the IOC, in terms of a support fund for the local organisation,” he says.

“Whereas the Commonwealth Games still are in the process of finalising their media contract in uncertain and insecure revenue streams that can make or break the finalisation of their budget.”

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