NEC takes the wraps off £20m Bear Grylls adventure attraction
The NEC Group and Alton Towers owner, Merlin Entertainments have taken the wraps off the new £20m Bear Grylls Adventure attraction set to launch at the Birmingham venue next year.
The 8,000-sqm experience will open as a permanent feature outside the National Exhibition Centre in a move designed to underpin the venue as a destination attraction, in much the same vein as the adjoining £150m Resorts World Birmingham complex, which opened two years ago.
The attraction, which will cost approximately £20m to build, will take inspiration from the TV adventurer’s real-life adventures across mountains, deserts and jungles.
Thrill-seekers will be able to choose challenges from five activities, including diving, rock climbing, iFLY (indoor skydiving) and the highest free-roam high ropes in Europe.
Entry to Basecamp, included in the ticket price, will allow customers to hone their adventurer skills through a selection of mental and physical challenges for individuals and groups.
Prices and activity time will vary for different activities with Basecamp entry tickets starting at £25.
Under the terms of the deal with Bear Grylls Ventures and Mantis Media, the entity which holds the master license for the attraction, the partnership grants Merlin global exclusivity of the concept until 2026, with an extension on further rollout of attractions. For use of the brand, Merlin will pay Bear Grylls Ventures and Mantis Media a revenue-based royalty.
The launch of this new concept will see Merlin further diversify its portfolio of iconic brands, extending its reach in to new and rapidly growing market segments, whilst leveraging strong Intellectual Property partnerships.
The deal also sees the NEC diversify its brand offering; a move which has also seen the group extend its partnership with Merlin to open a Lego Discovery Centre at its Arena Birmingham venue.
Kathryn James, managing director for the NEC Group Conventions and Exhibitions, said: “To say we are excited about the ‘The Bear Grylls Adventure’ opening at the NEC is an understatement, and we are particularly looking forward to working with Merlin on making the attraction a success.
“We are committed to connecting audiences with great content, and this attraction will be an important addition to the leisure and entertainment facilities already on the NEC campus. By partnering with fantastic organisations – such as Merlin – to bring experiences that have enormous appeal for the mass market to our site, we will be offering even more experiences to our visitors and adding value to the tourism and leisure offer in the area.”
She said the addition of adventure attraction cemented the NEC as a year-round destination.
“We are hoping to lead the way with organisers by adding extra content to help extend their shows whilst at our venue – workshops and live experiences, multi-day events for example – building not only their audiences but also increasing footfall around the site,” she added.
Nick Varney, CEO Merlin Entertainments, said its research had suggested the market for adventure-based activities had incredible potential.
“Our research shows that nine out of ten young adults are actively seeking adventure and challenge experiences, and this trend is set to continue,” he said.