Answering the tough questions

The man behind the Commonwealth Games bid replies.

On Monday, in the article Nice Images, Tough Questions, we raised the question of whether a revamped Alexander Stadium could sustain a capacity of up to 25,000. In response, Birmingham City Council have sent us this statement from Ian Ward, Chair, Birmingham Commonwealth Games Steering Group:

“Last weekend over 9,000 sports fans watched the British Championships and World Team Trials live from Alexander Stadium. According to British Athletics, this is in line with the average for the Championships over the past five years.

“Alexander Stadium will shortly be hosting the Muller Grand Prix Birmingham, one of the most prestigious international track and field events in the calendar which attracts some of the biggest names in global athletics. Next year, we will see the IAAF World Indoor Athletics Championships return to Birmingham. Combined with the World Para Athletics Championships and IAAF World Championships in London this summer, local sports fans have lots of world class athletics to look forward to in the coming months.

“There is a huge appetite for top-class sport in Birmingham as evidenced by nearly 8,000 tickets being sold on the first day of sales for the IAAF World Indoor Championship. The Muller Grand Prix annually attracts a near capacity crowd.

“For Birmingham 2022 we will put in place a detailed promotional and ticketing strategy designed to optimise all stadia capacity. With athletics being the blue riband sport of the Commonwealth Games, this will include a campaign to drive sales for Alexander Stadium events.

“As heart of the UK, soul of the Commonwealth, we will target not only home nation support during Birmingham 2022, but will engage with the Commonwealth diaspora who call Birmingham their home to cheer on athletes from all countries participating.

“Birmingham regularly hosts packed international sports events such as World and European Indoor Athletics Championships, Davis Cup tennis, Yonex All England Badminton Championships, European and World Gymnastics Championships, International Netball and World BMX Championships and we are hungry for an international multi-sport event. Birmingham 2022 will deliver an action- and stadium- packed Games.”