Victoria’s gone and bloody done it again and secured the 2026 Commonwealth Games, 20 years after Melbourne hosted the games. But this time Melbs will have to pipe down because the 2026 sporting events will all be held in various towns and cities across regional Victoria.

“The Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games will be the regional games,” Premier Daniel Andrews said in a statement on Tuesday morning.

“Victoria 2026 is going to welcome the world to every corner of our state.”

Four regional hubs will be established in Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Gippsland, and some events will also be held in Shepparton.

The MCG will still host the opening ceremony, but we don’t know where the closing ceremony will be just yet.

A hell of a lot new sports infrastructure plus an athletes’ village will be built in each regional hub, which Andrews said will be used for sporting events and affordable housing after the 2026 Commonwealth Games wrap up.

It may be a few years away, but dammit if we don’t all need something to look forward to!

Here’s what events to expect in each regional centre:

  • Aquatics (Swimming, Para Swimming and Diving) — Geelong
  • Athletics and Para Athletics — Ballarat
  • Badminton — Gippsland
  • Beach Volleyball — Geelong
  • Boxing — Ballarat
  • Cricket T20 — Geelong, Gippsland, Ballarat, Bendigo
  • Cycling — Gippsland to Bendigo
  • Gymnastics — Geelong
  • Hockey — Geelong
  • Lawn Bowls and Para Lawn Bowls — Bendigo
  • Netball — Bendigo
  • Rugby Sevens — Gippsland
  • Squash — Bendigo
  • Table Tennis and Para Table Tennis — Geelong
  • Triathlon and Para Triathlon — Geelong
  • Weightlifting and Para Powerlifting — Bendigo

This is a huge boon for regional tourism and local businesses and will also create about 8000 jobs before, during and after the games.

Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Paul Guerra said the announcement confirmed Victoria as the sporting capital of the world and we couldn’t agree more.

“It will provide a significant boost for regional economies and be welcomed by local businesses which will benefit from the influx of visitors. It will also lead to increased investment in regional Victoria in housing, infrastructure, tourism and jobs,” he said.

We cannot wait.

Image: Getty Images / Adam Pretty