Regional Victoria will briefly be the centre of the international sports universe in 2026, with the state officially selected to host the Commonwealth Games.
In a first for the event's 92-year history, the Commonwealth Games was awarded to a state or region, rather than a city, as Victoria was triumphant in a one-horse race for hosting rights.
Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and Gippsland will each host their own athlete's village and sport programs, including athletics, swimming and T20 cricket.
Shepparton is also slated to hold events, while the opening ceremony is locked in for the 100,000-seat Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the event would set Victoria up for the future and not be like Melbourne's 2006 Commonwealth Games.
"It is different," Mr Andrews told reporters at Ballarat's Mars Stadium.
"I'm sure from their point of view, it's a bit riskier than just running it in the middle of a large city. We promised we wouldn't be doing a re-run of 2006."
The games are estimated to inject $3 billion into the state economy, create 7500 jobs, and boost sports infrastructure and affordable housing in regional areas.
Mars Stadium will host the track and field program and be upgraded to boost its current capacity from 11,000.
"There might be some particular facilities that we have to do a lot more work at, but I think we start with a pretty good base," Mr Andrews said.
Other major regional cities - such as Mildura and Wodonga which were denied hubs - could host pre-competition training events and cultural festivities, the premier added.
The cost to Victorian taxpayers for hosting the sports extravaganza will be revealed in the May 3 state budget.
No funding has been set aside by the federal government, now in caretaker mode ahead of the May 21 election.
An initial list of 16 sports is confirmed for the Games, with more to be added later this year.
Australian Olympic Committee chief executive Matt Carroll noted 12 were established Olympic sports, making the Commonwealth Games a major marker on the runway to the 2032 Olympics in Brisbane.
Ben Houston, president of Commonwealth Games Australia, also said the event will provide "immeasurable benefits" as lead-up competition.
It is the sixth time the games have been held in Australia, most recently on the Gold Coast in 2018.
Hosting rights for the 2026 event hit a market after the English city of Birmingham replaced South Africa's Durban as host of the upcoming 2022 games.
Kuala Lumpur, Cardiff, Calgary, Edmonton, Adelaide and Perth all pulled out from proposed bids over cost and COVID-19 concerns.
With no other suitors, Victoria was considered a near-certainty to secure the event after the state government entered exclusive negotiations with the games' governing body in February.
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said the concept of a regional Commonwealth Games had the in-principal bipartisan support of the Victorian Liberals and Nationals.
"We don't support just a blank cheque to do anything at anytime but what we do support is a sensible plan," he said.
Australian Associated Press
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