Sport is intertwined within Greater Manchester’s DNA. Home to two world-class football clubs, the city-region is no stranger to world-class sport with state-of-the-art sporting facilities and iconic sporting venues, it’s no surprise sporting organisations like British Cycling, GB Taekwondo and world-famous sports teams choose to base themselves here.
Greater Manchester makes good use of its incredible facilities and is a regular host of Premier League and Champions League football matches. In recent years, we’ve hosted the Rugby League World Cup, the ICC Cricket World Cup, Davis Cup Tennis and even some of the Women’s Euro 2022 matches.
Manchester Convention Bureau’s Sports Bidding unit supports in bringing these events to the region through the bidding process as well as the delivery of events when they are here in Manchester. Working in partnership with sport national governing bodies as well as MCRactive, an arm of Manchester City Council responsible for driving sport and physical activity across Manchester, and UKSport. The Bureau identifies major opportunities for Greater Manchester, connecting event organisers to key stakeholders across the city-region and to help organisers through the bidding journey from identifying suitable venues and training facilities to accommodation booking and promotional support.
2023 was another big year for sport in the city-region. Manchester was even named in the Top 5 Cities in the World for Sport by BCW, proving that our city was built to host such iconic events. We wanted to highlight just some of the incredible sportsmanship that has graced our region over the past 12 months.
Manchester’s 2023 summer of sport included an event widely regarded as the men’s ‘World Cup of Tennis’. Between 12 and 17 September, some of the sports' biggest names and best players descended on Manchester’s AO arena for the Group Stages of the Davis Cup Finals. Worth an estimated £10m to Greater Manchester’s economy, the Davis Cup saw Britain’s best tennis professionals taking on three other nations before they reached the quarter-final knock-out competition. The event was recently awarded Event of the Year at the MCR Active Manchester Sports Awards. The Manchester Convention Bureau’s Sport Bidding team worked alongside Manchester City Council and AO Arena with this bidding process and will continue to work with the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) to promote future tennis events across the region, maximising its success for years to come.
Para Swimming World Championships
Over the summer, Manchester’s Aquatic Centre, home of the British Para-Swimming National Performance Centre, hosted the Para Swimming World Championships. Over 1,000 global athletes came to Manchester for the 11th edition of the world-class competition which is estimated to have contributed over £1.7m to Manchester’s economy. The Manchester Convention Bureau’s Sport Bidding supported this bid to create a memorable event for both athletes and fans. This year will mark the third time the Para Swimming World Championships have taken place in the UK following London and Glasgow in 2019 and 2015 respectively. The event showcased British and international athletes at the very pinnacle of their sport as well as showcasing inspirational stories and breaking world records. For many, this event was a warmup for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
Tour of Britain Grand Depart
As the home of British Cycling, The Tour of Britain was held in Greater Manchester this year for the first time since 2019. The city hosted the Grand Depart of the UK’s biggest professional cycle race in September, alongside a weekend of cycling events, activities and community engagement before the race began. Being the city that kicked off this prestigious cycling race meant that Greater Manchester could provide spectators with a chance to meet riders, get autographs and selfies with the team buses and check out the latest cycling equipment. The race then continued across Britain for eight days before finishing in Wales later that month.
Around 500,000 spectators came to Greater Manchester to watch the race begin, bringing an estimated £3.9m to the regional economy. Manchester is home to the National Cycling Centre, team GB athletes and the offices for British Cycling, so it feels fitting that the country’s biggest cycling race should begin in a city with such strong connections to the sport. The weekend of activity helped to inspire more people to get on their bikes and showcase Greater Manchester as a premier cycling region ahead of the announcement that Manchester has been named the European Capital of Cycling for 2024.
British Weightlifting Championships
In August, Manchester Central Convention Centre hosted the British Weightlifting (BWL) Championships. Thanks to another successful bid by the Manchester Convention Bureau’s Sport Bidding team, world-class athletes came to the city to compete for British Championship titles. The championships include Senior championships, Masters Championships and Para Powerlifting Championships which saw athletes of all ages, weight classes and genders compete for glory. With hundreds of athletes visiting our city-region to celebrate the strength and determination of world-class weightlifting.
HYROX World Championships
Over 5,000 people attended the annual HYROX World Championships at Manchester Central Convention Centre this year. HYROX combines both running & functional workout stations, where participants run 1km, followed by 1 functional workout station, repeated eight times. Accommodating both professional athletes, and everyday fitness enthusiasts looking to take their training to the next level, as well as an electrifying spectator sport. Major highlights included the Elite 15 race, where the top 15 within the men and women categories would compete for glory.
UK Athletics Championships
Following an epic championship in the city last year, the UK Athletics Championships returned to Greater Manchester for the fourth consecutive year in 2023. Between 8 and 9 July, more than 800 of Britain’s best athletes competed as they raced, threw and jumped for glory. The Championship is the pinnacle competition of domestic UK athletics, and hundreds of athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers and spectators flocking to Manchester. The event saw athletes battle for both UK Championship titles and the potential for selection to the GB & NI team for the World Championships held in Budapest in September. Off the back of this, the UK went on to win 10 medals in Budapest, equalling its all-time medal record.
Following a successful summer last year, the popular cricket tournament The Hundred came home to Manchester for 2023. This unique tournament provided four weeks of entertainment and cricket action for sports fans with both men’s and women’s action running alongside each other as well as live music and entertainment for the whole family. With world-class players from across the globe, eight city-based teams created specifically for the hundred compete every summer. Each team has 15 players, with a maximum of four overseas stars. Manchester Originals men’s and women’s teams took residency at Emirates Old Trafford and brought the high-intensity 100-ball cricket game to our city once again.
World Taekwondo Grand Prix Final
A total of 76 athletes from 27 countries, as well as Individual Neutral Athletes (AIN), competed in the World Taekwondo Grand Prix Final, a three-day event at the Manchester AO Arena in December. The athletes competed across five women’s and five men’s K44 weight categories, with high levels of strategy and skill coming into play across the board. With places on Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games at stake, the line up saw the best of the best leave everything out on the mat as they battled to be world champions. British Taekwondo built its home in Manchester, so hosting its grand final in the city only seems fitting.
UEFA Euro 2028
The Etihad Stadium has been confirmed as one of the host stadiums for the UEFA EURO 2028 competition that will be held in the UK and Ireland, with the news that the UK and Ireland won the hosting bid earlier this year, with the Etihad winning the bid to host with help from Manchester Convention Bureau Sport Bidding Unit. Treble-winning Manchester City’s home stadium will be increasing in capacity to 61,000 in time for the event, proving a great stage alongside other iconic British and Irish stadia, including Wembley, Dublin Arena, Casement Park and the national stadium of Wales. While it’s a few years away yet, 2028 is shaping up to be a great year for UK football fans.
To learn more about how Manchester Convention Bureau’s Sport Bidding Unit can support you with your sporting event bid and planning to bring your competition to the city-region, contact us.