More than 250 delegates from governing bodies, global associations and professional sporting organisations came together at a special sports economy day, held at the University of Birmingham’s Exchange building. Delegates gathered to learn more about the West Midlands’ ambition and capability to bring further high-profile international sporting events to the region, following the early success of the ongoing Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games (28 July – 8 August).
Officials from federations including World Athletics, the International Boxing Association and the International Extreme Sports Festival heard from speakers including Commonwealth Games minister Nigel Huddleston MP, Leader of Birmingham City Council Ian Ward and Trudy Lindsdale, CEO of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships.
Themes at the sports economy day included:
- Building sustainable sporting facilities for a long-term future
- Innovative fan engagement – the role of technology
- Sports Events Legacy – International Best Practice
- Sports Events – Strengthening and enduring international relationships
The West Midlands Major Events Delivery Plan - led by the Business and Tourism Programme (BATP)* and complementing Birmingham City Council’s roadmap to secure more sporting events – seeks to attract a minimum of eight major international events between 2022-2027.
These include the right to host the European Athletics Championships in 2026 at the redeveloped Alexander Stadium, which is the centrepiece of Birmingham 2022 activity, hosting the opening and closing ceremonies and the athletics and para-athletics.
Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said:
“With more than 1.35 million tickets already sold, Birmingham 2022 is the most popular Commonwealth Games ever hosted in the UK. There is a real buzz around the West Midlands, with communities and businesses proudly embracing our time in the global sporting spotlight.
“We are rising to the occasion and changing perceptions of Birmingham as a truly global sporting city. Having seen the true power of major sporting events this week, we believe that this is just the beginning of showing the world what we can achieve. The Games will act as a fantastic springboard for attracting a new wave of top-class international sport to the city and region, offering a great boost to our economy and local people.”
Last month, Birmingham entered the top 50 of the BCW 2022 Ranking of Sports Cities for the first time. Listed at number 34 in the annual search for the city with the strongest association to sport, Birmingham’s ranking comes before the traditional bounce effect that cities experience following a major Games.
Nigel Huddleston MP, Commonwealth Games Minister, said:
"With proven expertise ranging from the design of both permanent and temporary sporting facilities, UK companies have an outstanding track record of delivering the world’s most impressive and impactful sports competitions.
"Attracting and hosting major sporting events like these sensational Commonwealth Games helps promote the West Midlands as a world-class tourism destination, boosting the local economy and having a real, positive societal impact. I wish the region the very best of luck in landing more world class sporting events in the future."
Sporting officials also attended a welcome reception on 1 August at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, led by the West Midlands Growth Company - which featured live performances by spoken word poet Casey Bailey and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
Birmingham’s major sporting events programme delivered more than £75 million economic benefit to the city in 2019. The region has a proud history of hosting major international sporting events, including the IAAF World Athletics Championships, World Gymnastics Championships and the Cricket World Cup.
Between 6-7 August, Birmingham hosts the inaugural Commonwealth Esports Championships at the ICC. Two global events have already been secured for 2023. The World Tumbling and Trampolining Championship, and the World Blind Games.
BATP is sponsored by E.ON, Airbnb, Reckitt, University of Birmingham, Bruntwood and Gowling WLG.
The West Midlands Growth Company is supporting the BATP Major Sporting Events Delivery Plan, elevating and enhancing the reputation of Birmingham and the West Midlands globally, engaging national federations and right holders to attract expressions of interest and bid to host major international events.