Birmingham considers venue alterations as it chases Commonwealth Games

by Matthew Campelli | 24 Apr 2017

The capacity of Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium could be increased by almost 30,000 seats if the city successfully bids for the Commonwealth Games.

Currently accommodating 12,700 spectators, the venue is being sized up as a 40,000-capacity “home of British athletics” by Birmingham’s bid committee.

Sports Management understands that the capacity increase would be achieved with a mix of temporary seating and more permanent improvements, and the facility would continue to be used for athletics following the event.

According to a report in the Birmingham Mail, the committee is also considering transforming the Barclaycard Arena into a “world-class” cycle velodrome, while a competition-level aquatics centre is being proposed for the Black Country.

In addition, the Ericsson Exhibition Hall – located inside Coventry’s Ricoh Arena – and Edgbaston Cricket Ground are being lined up for the Games’ netball, basketball and cricket tournaments respectively.

Ian Ward, deputy leader of Birmingham City Council, said that 95 per cent of the facilities were in place.

“In my view we can deliver a Games at lower cost than anywhere else,” he added. “Using existing venues means we will not be lumbered with expensive white elephant facilities after.”

Culture secretary Karen Bradley called for cities around the UK to campaign for the Commonwealth Games before the government would commit to a bid for the 2022 or 2026 edition.

According to multiple reports, Liverpool and Manchester may pool resources and put together joint bid.

The former has long made its intention to bid for the 2022 and 2026 Games known, while Manchester has experience after hosting the 2002 Games.

However, Ward said he was confident that the committee's yet-to-be published 200-page feasibility report gave Birmingham the advantage.

“The feasibility study, if endorsed by the city council as is hoped, puts us in prime position to move forward,” he said.

Birmingham  Commonwealth Games  Alexander Stadium 
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The capacity of Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium could be increased by almost 30,000 seats if the city successfully bids for the Commonwealth Games. Currently accommodating 12,700 spectators, the venue is being sized up as a 40,000-capacity “home of British athletics” by Birmingham’s bid committee. Sports Management understands that the capacity increase would be achieved with a mix of temporary seating and more permanent improvements, and the facility would continue to be
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Birmingham's Alexander Stadium can currently hold 12,700 spectators / David Davies/PA Archive/PA Images
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