The West Midlands welcomed officials from international sporting federations to outline its ambition to bring more high-profile international sporting events to the region, following the ongoing Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The West Midlands Major Events Delivery Plan, led by the Business and Tourism Programme (BATP), 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.

More than 250 delegates from governing bodies, global associations and professional sporting organisations came together for a sports economy day, held at the University of Birmingham’s Exchange building.

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 (pictured), 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
  • Innovative fan engagement
  • Sports events legacy
  • Strengthening and enduring international relationships

Ward said, “With more than 1.35m 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.”

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.

Huddleston 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.”