New decade-long deal set to secure indoor athletics events for city

Arena Birmingham during the Muller Indoor GP 2017 Published: 27th Aug 2021

The long-term future of indoor athletics in Birmingham is set to be secured through a proposed 10-year partnership agreement between UK Athletics and Birmingham City Council.

A decade-long deal, due for discussion by the council's Cabinet on September 7, would see Birmingham host the Indoor Grand Prix and British Indoor Championships on consecutive weekends annually from February 2022 to February 2032.

Previously, the city shared indoor hosting duties with Glasgow on a bi-annual basis and the new partnership also commits both the council and UKA to develop an athletics strategy for the city, in order to explore further opportunities for outdoor events such as Diamond League meetings from 2023 onwards and other major events at the redeveloped Alexander Stadium.

Historically the two indoor athletics events that are the focus of the new deal have supported the local economy by bringing more than 7,000 people to the city with almost 1,000 hotel bed nights being booked as a result by those in attendance.

The 2019 Indoor Grand Prix event alone attracted attendees from 112 difference postcode areas, with 97 per cent of those surveyed saying they would return to the city for a future athletics event.

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “This is a significant deal which underlines our undoubted status as the home of athletics in the UK.

“Our recent commitment as a council to purchase a new indoor track for use at Arena Birmingham showed how serious we are about sport and the positive impact of major events in the city.

“This partnership also supports jobs because it will provide a much-needed boost to our events and hospitality sector in a post-pandemic Birmingham and is another element of the Commonwealth Games legacy, as we will now have the clear support of UKA when seeking to secure Diamond League and other major events for the city.”

The new deal also aligns with the council’s recently approved Major Events Strategy, which revealed that major sporting events delivered more than £75million of economic benefit to the city in the last pre-pandemic year of 2019.

Over the next decade UK Athletics and the city council will work together to maximise investment into Birmingham athletics events by continuing to develop existing stakeholder relationships with UK Sport and Sport England.

The report to Cabinet also details that UK Athletics will retain their headquarters in the city at the Alexander Stadium and that at the end of the ten years, Birmingham will have the first option on renewal of the annual events.