REGIONAL Victoria has opened as the early favourite to host the 2030 Commonwealth Games.
On Thursday, the Greater Shepparton City Council unveiled a trail-blazing proposal that would see events spread across 11 of the state’s most prominent country hubs.
They include Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, the Gippsland region, Mildura, Shepparton, Warrnambool, Wodonga and Yarrawonga, but not the colossus of Australian sporting culture that is Melbourne.
Mayor of Greater Shepparton, Dinny Adem, said such an event would “leave a legacy for millions of people like we have never seen before”, but Premier Daniel Andrews was decidedly cagey in his appraisal of the bid’s fiscal feasibility.
“There are benefits as well, but you have got to be careful that in prioritising one event you are not having to take money away from a range of other important areas,” Mr Andrews said.
“The costs of putting on an event like that, well that money has got to come from somewhere and therefore wouldn’t be available for other things.
“I’m not surprised that a lot of people in regional Victoria proud of their community, proud of their offering, are very keen to have the event.”
Online bookmaker Sportsbet.com.au has taken a much more optimistic view, installing Victoria as the +300 frontrunner to win hosting rights.
The ‘Big V’ leads a pack that includes twin bids from Canada, with Edmonton (+500) and Toronto (+600) closing out the top three tips.
Next are the English hopefuls, led by Birmingham and Liverpool on +700 apiece ahead.
Rounding out the single-figure chances is London at +800, ahead of a raft of major city rivals for the Australian bid.
Adelaide heads the pack at +1000, with Perth at +1200 and the big boys Melbourne and Sydney sharing a +1400 quote.
Darwin is a rank outsider at +8000, while the Gold Coast – set to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games – brings up the rear of the market with a +10000 moonshot.
“We’ve shown that no matter where in Australia, we know how to put on a show so this unusual bid could be yet another feather in our hosting hat,” said Sportsbet’s Will Byrne.
A number of high-profile sporting figures are involved in the Victorian bid, including Lauren Jackson, John Steffensen and former Hawthorn forward Nick Holland.
2030 Commonwealth Games host futures betting
+500 – Edmonton
+600 – Toronto
+700 – Birmingham, Liverpool
+800 – London
+900 – Port Moresby
+1000 – Adelaide
+1200 – Perth
+1400 – Melbourne, Sydney
+2000 – Auckland, Delhi, Durban, Kuala Lumpur, Vancouver
+2500 – Brisbane, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Wellington
+3300 – Christchurch, Hambantota, Kingston
+4000 – Manchester
+5000 – Glasgow
+8000 – Darwin
+10000 – Gold Coast
Market provided by Sportsbet.com.au