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SportAccord Adds Glow to West Midlands Plans

April 10, 2024

After a five-year hiatus SportAccord is back with a buzzy relaunch edition that has brought 1700 delegates to Birmingham’s International Convention Centre from April 7-12. The ambitions of the city and surrounding area as a sports destination were highlighted on Tuesday when Birmingham City FC Chairman Tom Wagner revealed that the club has acquired a 48-site for a new stadium that will create a second city centre focused on sport. iSportConnect’s Content Director Jay Stuart spoke with Joel Lavery, strategic lead, major sporting events, for the West Midlands Growth Company to know more.

Sports tourism accounted for one in seven visitors during the 12-month period that featured the Commonwealth Games with 19.6 million people coming to watch or participate in events. “It’s our fastest growth sector,” said Joel Lavery.

SportAccord is part of a 10-year sports growth plan for the area centred on Birmingham encompassing Wolverhampton and Coventry. “We started with the 2022 Commonwealth Games. SportAccord is the second big step,” he said. “It’s all about awareness. The leaders of world sport, people who would not come to Birmingham otherwise, are visiting us in our home and we’re sure they like what they see.”

He added: “We are not only aiming to attract sports competitions but also the annual meetings and other gatherings of sports organisations. We have invested in bringing the federations here to SportAccord and we want them to come back. We want this to be the start of a relationship.”

Several upcoming sports competitions are among the events sharing £3 million in funding from the Birmingham Commonwealth Games budget. The Games managed to achieve an underspend of £70 million and that money is being reinvested back into the region. The Games were also delivered in a record four and half years instead of the usual seven, and much of that time was affected by the Covid pandemic. This sports-related inflow pumped £1.9 billion in spending into the economy and supported 18,352 jobs.

This year’s sports events and the amounts of support they have received are:

  • The ESL One – Dota II esports tournament, Solihull, April 26-28 – £145,000
  • The European Judo Union Junior Cup, Walsall, June 15-19 – £250,000
  • The SuperDome esports tournament, Solihull, September 5-8 – £250,00
  • West Midlands Urban Sports, Wolverhampton, September 6-8 – £390,000

The highest amount (£500,000) goes to the Kabaddi World Cup taking place from March 24-31 next year. It will be the first time the biggest kabaddi event is held outside Asia.

These events along with several cultural happenings are expected to give estimated £11.5 million boost to the local economy, bringing almost 700,000 competitors, performers and spectators to the region.

Birmingham will host the European Athletics Championships in 2026 at the Alexander Stadium, a dedicated athletics venue with 18,000 capacity near the city centre.

The area regularly hosts the UK’s biggest gaming festival, Insomnia, at the National Exhibition Centre, the country’s largest exhibition venue.

Events SportAccord sportsbiz