Cricket showpiece casts spotlight on Birmingham’s sporting credentials

The ICC Champions Trophy at Edgbaston

Cricket’s ICC Champions Trophy tournament is set to cast the global spotlight on Birmingham’s ability to host major sporting events.

The tournament, now underway, will see the city’s Edgbaston Stadium host five games during the competition – the first, between Australia and New Zealand, takes place today.

The ground is also staging showpiece games between India and Pakistan, and England against Ashes rival Australia, as well as the tournament’s first semi-final.

The games are likely to see around 120,000 cricket fans descend on the city and the value of the tournament to Birmingham’s economy has been estimated at more than £25m.

However, the global television audience for the tournament is estimated at around two billion people – offering Birmingham a platform like no other on which to showcase its potential.

This is especially important with the city keen to become host city for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Birmingham has officially notified the UK Government of its intention to bid for the Games; a position it has arrived at following endorsement from the Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bid Company, backed by a detailed feasibility study produced by a consortium led by Origin Sport Group.

Visit Birmingham, the city’s leisure tourism programme, and Birmingham City Council have joined forces to promote the West Midlands to sporting visitors and a global television audience, as part of Birmingham’s growth strategy to attract more international tourists. According to International Passenger Survey (IPS) data released last month, Birmingham attracted more than one million visitors (1.12m) for the second successive year in 2016, a 58% increase on 2012’s figures.

Emma Gray, Director of Marketing and Communications at Visit Birmingham, said: “The ICC Champions Trophy provides Birmingham and the surrounding region with a fantastic opportunity to inspire a huge worldwide audience to come and visit the area for both leisure and business.

“As part of our international growth strategy, which is already reaping results, we will be using the tournament to give potential new tourists in key visitor markets such as India and Australia a snapshot of the region’s vibrancy across our cultural, heritage and retail offer.

“Birmingham’s reputation as an international sporting destination continues to grow. In recent years, the city has proven to be a successful host for The Ashes, the Rugby World Cup, Davis Cup tennis and Diamond League athletics. We will be showing the world that Birmingham will be the perfect location for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, and encourage fans and visitors to support the city’s bid to stage this prestigious event in five years’ time.”

Visit Birmingham and Birmingham City Council logos, plus ‘Support the Birmingham 2022 Bid’ messaging, will appear at Edgbaston Stadium during games; adverts about Birmingham will feature in matchday programmes; and banners and flags will greet players and fans in locations across the city.

Birmingham is also playing host to the first ICC Champions Trophy 2017 Official Fan Park (Victoria Square, June 2-4; plus Edgbaston Street on June 4), encouraging cricket lovers and new supporters to watch games on two giant screens and to enjoy other cricket-related activities.