Birmingham City Council is targeting big events like the Rugby World Cup and international art exhibitions in a bid to transform the city’s profile.
Despite the cutbacks in funding for sport and arts in the city, council deputy leader Ian Ward says that they are bidding on a series of fronts to bring ‘inspirational events’ to Birmingham.
During a council committee inquiry into his sport and culture role he outlined a series of events that the city is currently looking to attract or planning, including the Yonex All England Badminton titles, Para Grand Prix Athletics and European BMX Championships.
Meanwhile the council has agreed to host a major ‘fans park’ event in the city centre if Villa Park is selected as a host venue for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
A cycle road race is also being planned to run alongside the Great Birmingham Run from next year.
“There is no reason why Birmingham should not be hosting more major events,” he said.
“If Villa Park is a host for the Rugby World Cup we will have a fans park in the city, not just while the three matches are on, but throughout the tournament – and I would hope that England at least reach the semi-final.”
He added that discussions are underway with music promoters for a proposed festival in Cofton Park next year and he would like to attract big-ticket international exhibitions to the Museum and Art gallery.
Coun Ward (Lab, Shard End) told the committee that a strategy is also being drawn up to produce the next generation of sporting heroes – pointing out that none of Britain’s many 2012 gold medallists came from Birmingham as well as invest in sporting facilities.
“The Olympics did wonders to get kids interests in sport.
“But they were watching athletes in world-class facilities.
“This interest will soon tail off if all we offer are third-rate facilities. We need to develop high-quality facilities, only then will we get a gold post box Birmingham.”