Birmingham’s sporting summer enters extra time
Birmingham’s sporting summer is set to continue this weekend as two of the country’s favourite games compete for the public’s attention, with cricket’s Twenty20 Finals Day at Edgbaston Stadium and the start of the Premier League football season.
This Saturday, Edgbaston Stadium will be the setting for one of cricket’s most prestigious occasions as Essex, Hampshire, Northamptonshire and Surrey battle it out to become Twenty20 champions. Edgbaston, home of the Warwickshire Bears, will host more than 20,000 fans for the showpiece limited overs event – the cricketing equivalent of the FA Cup Final – for the fifth time this weekend, with the Finals Day also scheduled to take place at the venue in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Meanwhile, one of the most eagerly awaited Premier League football seasons kicks off on Saturday, with the West Midlands’ top side over the past two seasons West Bromwich Albion hosting Southampton at The Hawthorns. According to recent VisitBritain figures, the Premier League welcomed 900,000 foreign football tourists to the UK in 2011, spending £706 million, equivalent to £785 per fan, £200 more than the average visitor.
Emma Gray, Director of Marketing Services at Visit Birmingham, the city’s leisure tourism programme, said:
Sport is a great way of raising a city’s national and international profile. When sport fans come to enjoy fixtures here, we are encouraging them to stay longer to experience our acclaimed cultural, culinary and accommodation offer.
The city has proved to be the place to see big stars from across the sporting arena this summer – including world athletics champion Mo Farah, Grand Slam tennis finalist Sabine Lisicki and many of England’s triumphant Ashes squad – at affordable prices.
Birmingham’s reputation as a top sporting destination was boosted in June when the city successfully hosted the ICC Champions Trophy, a global cricket tournament. The high profile event brought more than 100,000 visitors, with an economic impact of £15.5 million, to the city.
A 30 second advert, showcasing Birmingham’s visitor offer, was also broadcast as part of syndicated coverage to almost one billion people globally. The video has been viewed more than 20,000 times on YouTube, making it the most watched clip ever on Visit Birmingham’s official channel.
Visit Birmingham also worked with journalists from across the world during the tournament, including The Times of India and Asia’s leading sports channel Ten Sports, achieving more than 100 positive media hits and reaching more than 500 million people.
Colin Povey, Chief Executive of Edgbaston Stadium, said:
Birmingham has proved time and again its ability to come together as a city and put on a great show for its sporting public and this summer’s ICC Champions Trophy was no exception.
The city worked tremendously hard in June, making all the right impressions with its welcome for both cricket fans and dignitaries. The excellent feedback has already resulted in the Stadium winning the right to host more fixtures, as the city looks to cement its status as the home of sport in this country.
More supporters than ever before are coming to Birmingham for Finals Day on Saturday, and we’re looking forward to making this another great day at Edgbaston, in what is the biggest day in the domestic cricket calendar.
Other sporting highlights still to come in the city before the end of British Summer Time include the British BMX Championships in Perry Barr in August and Aston Villa hosting Premier League giants Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. One Day International cricket between rivals England and Australia takes place at Edgbaston Stadium in September, while nearly 20,000 people will line up for the Bupa Great Birmingham Run, one of the Midlands’ leading half marathons, in October.
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