Wolverhampton is set to play host to a major urban sports international event this year after the council secured £390,000 from the West Midlands Combined Authority’s and HM Government’s Commonwealth Games Legacy Fund.
It forms part of City of Wolverhampton Council’s five-year events strategy and will be staged in Old Market Square and the newly created Victoria Street events space in the west of the city centre from September 6-8, 2024.
Full details of the ‘Urban Sports FISE Xperience’ event will be announced later this year – but it is estimated the three-day event could attract 15,000 visitors with an estimated benefit to the local economy of £627,000.
Councillor Bhupinder Gakhal, City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for Visitor City, said: “This is a huge shot in the arm for our exciting five-year events strategy, helping to secure the city’s status and reputation regionally, nationally and internationally as a destination of choice for visitors.
“Figures from the West Midlands Growth Company’s STEAM report showed the visitor economy of the city in 2022 was up 21 per cent to £400 million and the city attracted 10 million visitors.
“The Urban Sports event will further boost footfall, increase economic and social benefit and help transform the reputation of the city.”
Working with urban sports experts, Hurricane Group, Wolverhampton will host an action-packed programme of both digital and physical FISE events throughout 2024.
Starting in July, the digital event will invite riders worldwide to post their videos online to win their spot to come to Wolverhampton and film in the city alongside some of the world’s best riders. The programme concludes with a live FISE event in Wolverhampton from Friday 6 to Saturday 8 September with three sports to look forward to – scooter freestyle, BMX freestyle and breaking (also known as break dancing).
Olivier Pascal, Vice President and International Development Director at Hurricane, said: “We couldn’t be more delighted to partner with Wolverhampton to deliver what promises to be a ground-breaking Urban Sports schedule unlike anything ever seen before in the UK. We can’t wait to share more details about this exciting project.”
Securing the event builds on a £22million package of investment in the west of the city centre and follows extensive public realm improvement works to the Victoria Street and North Street areas.
It is all part of a transformation, creating new destinations, better public spaces and inner-city living opportunities, coupled to a broader entertainment and events programme, to attract more visitors – helping both existing and new businesses to thrive and grow.
A development scheme for a City Centre West Quarter is in the pipeline following The English Cities Fund (ECF) – the joint venture between nationwide place maker, Muse, Legal & General, one of the UK’s leading financial services groups and major global investor, and Homes England – entering a partnership with City of Wolverhampton Council to deliver development plans.
And Maggie Grogan, Managing Director for Muse Midlands, has welcomed the announcement of the Urban Sports FISE Xperience as a boost to their future plans.
She said: “Wolverhampton is an ambitious city with a can-do attitude. City Centre West sits at the heart of the council’s vision, and the English Cities Fund is ready to work in partnership to deliver. The opportunity to create new homes, jobs, and public spaces through regeneration is clear and a significant international event like this gives us further encouragement to embed outdoor events spaces as part of our future development plans for the benefit of all communities.”