Birmingham is set to seal the deal to bring one of the world’s largest sports teams to the city in the build up to the 2012 Olympic Games.
Athletes from the USA Track and Field team will train at Alexander Stadium, the NIA, NEC and other city sports centres.
It marks a major boost for the city, with up to 200 track and field athletes, backed by an army of coaches, support staff and officials, plus friends and family spending the build up in Birmingham.
The full attention of the American sports and news media will also be focused on the Birmingham training camp giving added exposure for the city in the United States as training sessions are broadcast.
Hotels, banks, shops, bars and businesses will see a boost through an influx of visitors both during the training camp as well as a knock-on tourism boost from the international coverage. The Track and Field team has also pledged to take part in community and school events during their stay.
In return, Birmingham has pledged to improve the sports facilities, including Alexander Stadium, to meet the American’s high standards and to provide camp facilities and accommodation and transport.
City leader Mike Whitby said: “This is an exciting development and a major step forward in our efforts to bring USA Track and Field to Birmingham and follows a lot of hard work on both sides.
“Attracting such a high profile team to the city for 2012 will be a major coup, underlining just why Birmingham is perfectly placed to stage training camps, given our ideal location, excellent sports facilities and experience in looking after the world’s best athletes following our successful staging of a huge number of major sporting championships.”
Last year, during the European Indoor Athletics Championship Birmingham signed a less formal ‘memorandum of understanding’ with the team, but this contract confirms the training camp.
Talks continued following last year’s Beijing Games as USA Track and Field reviewed their training camp requirements.
The contract, to be approved by Birmingham’s City Council Cabinet next Monday, covers a range of areas including transport, accommodation, training, marketing and media, IT support, security, social and community activities.
Funding for the likes of transportation and security has been identified within the council’s major events budget and improvements will be made to the Alexander Stadium facilities to ensure a lasting legacy. The Home Office will also fund additional policing and security for the training camp.
This is the biggest success for the Birmingham Olympic Taskforce which has also helped local businesses win Olympic contracts, establish Villa Park as a venue for Olympic Football and is in negotiations with further countries, believed to include China and Jamaica to host training camps.