Widely regarded as the men’s World Cup of Tennis, the group stages of the Davis Cup were held in Manchester from Tuesday 12 September to Sunday 17 September 2023 with record-breaking attendance.
Worth an estimated £10.1 million to Greater Manchester’s economy, the city’s AO arena was chosen as the host venue, allowing 13,000 spectators from Greater Manchester and beyond the chance to watch the action from the court live.
Manchester is the fifth city to host the Davis Cup in Britain over the last 10 years, joining Coventry, Glasgow, London and Birmingham.
The tournament famously attracts some of the biggest names and best players in Tennis and big names playing in Manchester 2023 included Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans.
During the tournament players from Britain took on three other nations, Australia, France and Switzerland, over the six-day competition. The top two teams, Britain and Australia then advanced to the final 8 of the tournament played in Malaga, Spain in November.
The final day of the competition in Manchester set a single-day record for attendance of the competition in Britain, with a sell-out crowd of 13,000 people at the AO arena. In a boost for local supporters, Dan Evans and Neal Skupski saved four match points before winning a nerve-wracking decider against France to see them through to the final.
Coverage of the event in The Guardian quoted “Finally given the opportunity to host, Manchester stepped up. The sold-out 13,000 AO Arena audience on Sunday was Great Britain’s biggest Davis Cup crowd in its 123-year history in the event. Somewhere in the stands of the Manchester venue, a young player was inspired by the sight of the British team teetering on the verge of defeat before recovering to secure their victory.”
Over 32,100 fans attended the event over the 6-day tournament, achieving record-breaking ticket sales and crowd attendance.
More than just tennis, the event included music, singing, chanting, bands and a family-friendly atmosphere. As the AO Arena is located in the heart of Manchester's city centre, it is conveniently serviced by all forms of public transport making it accessible for people across the city-region.
A fan village was also built in Manchester’s Cathedral Gardens, just around the corner from the action, giving fans the opportunity to watch, play and enjoy tennis. A big screen showed all of the action from the court, local food and drinks vendors provided snacks and everyone was encouraged to play in mini tennis courts set up around the fan village, with coaches on hand to offer professional tips and tricks.
The event marked a major addition to Manchester’s 2023 Summer of Sport campaign which has seen the UK Athletics Championships, Para Swimming World Championships, British Weightlifting Championships, The Hundred and the Tour of Britain take over the city.
The Sports Bidding Process
The Manchester Sports Bidding Unit, which is part of the Manchester Convention Bureau (an extension of Marketing Manchester) worked on the bid for The Davis Cup in collaboration with colleagues from MCRactive, Manchester City Council and the LTA.
The Manchester partnership has extensive experience of working with international federations and national governing bodies of sport and supporting events, through the entire journey from conception to completion.
The bid explained Manchester’s sporting heritage and experience in hosting major tennis events including the pre-Wimbledon grass court event (the Manchester Trophy) at the Northern in Didsbury. The Davis Cup prides itself on taking place in areas of the world not served by the grand slam tournaments, with Manchester’s history and passion for sport, it seemed like the obvious choice.
The city has a strong partnership with the LTA, working collaboratively to encourage grassroots participation across the city region’s communities.
Since 2014, the LTA and Manchester City Council have led a Tennis Delivery Plan across Manchester that has increased opportunities and driven significant participation growth and engagement across the city, taking tennis to local communities across clubs, schools, parks and Manchester Tennis & Football Centre, located next door to Co-op Live.
In that time, the partnership has:
- overseen £1million+ in investment across the community tennis estate driving 50,000 bookings in 6 parks
- attracted over 10,000 online users as well as 600 Players taking part in the SERVES and Open Court programme
- achieved 9% growth in clubs and enabled over 10,000 people to experience tennis as part of the Manchester Trophy legacy programme.
LTA Director of Major Events and Digital, Chris Pollard said: “We are thrilled to be hosting the Davis Cup Finals Group Stage again in September as we know how much this competition means to our team and fans. It’s particularly important to us to take these major events around the whole of Britain and we look forward to working with our partners at Marketing Manchester and Manchester City Council to maximise this opportunity, therefore opening up our sport to more people and helping change perceptions of tennis across the country.”
Sheona Southern, Managing Director of Marketing Manchester, said: "We are thrilled with the announcement that Manchester has been selected to host the group stage of the Davis Cup later this year. With our strong history in supporting tennis over the years, we are confident in delivering an exceptional experience for tennis fans in Greater Manchester and hosting some of the best names in the game. 2023 is shaping up to be a spectacular year of sporting events in Greater Manchester, with the World Para Swimming Championships in August, the Tour of Britain Cycling Grand Depart in September, and the World Taekwondo Grand Prix Final in December, we look forward to celebrating our success and welcoming the world."
Manchester City Council Leader Cllr Bev Craig said: “This is a major coup for Manchester which further underlines our credentials as a great sporting city. We look forward to giving top-class tennis players and fans of different nations a warm Mancunian welcome. I’m sure that hosting the Group Stages of the Davis Cup will not just be exciting for tennis fans, and a boost for the city’s economy but also provide a legacy of inspiration which will encourage even more people to get out there, use our city’s high-quality tennis facilities and maybe even become the Davis Cup stars of the future themselves."