New strategy sets out major sporting events legacy from Commonwealth Games

Published: Monday, 19th July 2021

A new strategy outlining the principles that will underpin Birmingham City Council’s efforts to secure the right to host major sporting events in the next decade has been published.

Set for discussion by the council’s Cabinet on July 27, the Major Sporting Events Strategy 2022-2032 aims to capitalise on the springboard provided by Birmingham’s status as Proud Host City for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, with just over one year until athletes from 72 nations and territories arrive in the city to compete.

Other host cities have gone on to stage a range of events in the years after providing a platform for Commonwealth sport and culture – and here in Birmingham, there are already solid foundations, evidenced by the social and economic impact of events staged prior to the onset of COVID-19.

In 2019 Birmingham’s Major Sporting Events programme delivered more than £75million economic benefit to the city, and as part of the effort to cement the legacy of hosting the Commonwealth Games as well as supporting Birmingham’s recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic, two global events have already been secured for 2023.

The World Tumbling and Trampolining Championship and the World Blind Games will bring in thousands of additional people into the city and give a much-needed boost to the economy.

And in addition to the events currently secured, the City Council has also set aside the resources to deliver the World Road Running Championships in either 2023 or 2024 should the recently-announced bid to host this be successful.

The new Major Sporting Events Strategy aims to build on this, with a ‘portfolio’ approach proposed in future so the city can attract and host events that have purpose and a deliver a positive social, economic and environmental impact for the residents of Birmingham, its businesses, national governing bodies and the wider regional economy.

The report to Cabinet states that a portfolio approach relies less on the impacts and outcomes of individual major events, instead taking a more holistic view about the combined outcomes achieved by a rich calendar of events which take place throughout the year, attract different audiences, make use of multiple indoor and outdoor venues and provide a diverse and interesting offer.

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Major events have always played a massive role in Birmingham’s visitor economy, providing jobs and opportunities in the leisure, culture, tourism and hospitality sectors. They also help put the city on the map, generating further events and benefits for our overall wellbeing.

“The Commonwealth Games are in many ways the culmination of all the hard work put in by many people over a number of years – but we cannot be complacent because towns and cities across the UK and further afield all want to reap the rewards on offer by staging major events. We can use the Games, as the biggest event ever held in the city, to act as a launchpad to secure many more events in the future.

“We have been bold in the past, hosting everything from the All England Open Badminton Championships to the Great Birmingham Run, test match cricket and two World Indoor Athletics Championships. We know competitors and spectators love coming to Birmingham. This strategy puts in place a framework to give Birmingham the best chance of continued success in this highly-competitive sector.”

UK Sport have been engaged as part of the production of the Major Sporting Events Strategy. The council’s strategy has an approach aligned to UK Sport’s recently-published strategy for 2021–2031.

CGF President Dame Louise Martin added: “One of the great legacy benefits of the Commonwealth Games is that it creates the infrastructure, expertise and appetite to attract and host future major events.

“We have seen recent successful Games in Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018 prove to be the catalyst for securing some of the world’s biggest sporting and cultural events. These include the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow and the likely announcement of the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics in Brisbane and Gold Coast.

“I am delighted that Birmingham City Council are looking to follow in these footsteps to capitalise on hosting the 2022 Games through an ambitious ten-year Major Sporting Events Strategy.

“By using the Commonwealth Games as a launchpad to secure future events, the residents of Birmingham and the West Midlands are well-placed to benefit from the positive social, economic and environmental impact that hosting provides at a time when it is most needed.”

Subject to Cabinet approval, a major events Leadership Board would be established, made up of industry experts, strategic stakeholders and partners from the public, private and voluntary community sectors to provide expertise and add value to the major event proposition. This would enable the council to best assess which sports and events to target.

Background notes

Birmingham has some of the best city centre hosting venues anywhere in the UK, including Utilita Arena Birmingham, The International Convention Centre and Symphony Hall, Alexander Stadium, Edgbaston Cricket Ground and the University of Birmingham Sports Campus.

The city also boasts iconic outdoor city centre event spaces including Victoria and Centenary Squares and over 8,000 acres of green space and 15 green flag parks including Cannon Hill Park, Sutton Park and Edgbaston Reservoir in which to host outdoor sports and mass participation events.

The track record of events secured by previous Commonwealth Games hosts in the years after staging the games are illustrated by the hosts of the last two editions:

Gold Coast 2018 – 2019 SportAccord World Sport & Business Summit, also laid the foundations for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games Bid.

Glasgow 2014 – 2015 FIG World Gymnastics Championships, 2018 Multi-Sport European Championships, 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, inaugural 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships.

In May 2020, the Commonwealth Games Federation published a report which shows that the event consistently provides a £1billion boost for Host Cities.

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