UK Govt’s financial teeth to Ricoh Arena

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Ricoh Arena expansion August 2020 Image: Ricoh Arena

The Ricoh Arena – a stadium in Coventry, England – has revealed further details of its plans to add to and enhance its conferencing and exhibition facilities ahead of the Commonwealth Games after receiving multi-million-pound Government funding.

This is due to be the third time England will host the Games, after London in 1934 and Manchester in 2002. The Games are now expected to take place between July 28th and August 8th, 2022, having originally been scheduled for between July 27th and August 7th.

The Government has made available around £3.8 million to the arena via the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), who successfully secured the investment from £66 million worth of Government funding that was provided to the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) as part of the Government’s Getting Building Fund.

The UK Government has announced a £900 million Getting Building Fund to deliver jobs, skills and infrastructure across the country. This investment is being targeted in areas facing the biggest economic challenges as a result of COVID-19 which has pounded UK hard.

An additional £1.4 million has also been made available to Ricoh Arena via CWLEP from the Local Growth Fund and Growing Places Fund.

The estimated £5.3 million financial injection will see a new pavilion come up – complete with digital signage – at the south entrance of the venue as part of plans to launch a Commonwealth Convention Centre that will offer 1,847 square metres of avant-garde audio-visual (AV) and conference facilities.

The Commonwealth Convention Centre will be created as a result of major repurposing works of the venue’s lower halls on the south side of the facility.

This means that visitors to the venue will soon have smooth access to more than 8,000 square meters of conference and exhibition event space.

The existing 6,000 square meter exhibition hall will also undergo state-of-the-art cosmetic refurbishments in preparations for staging judo and wrestling at the Commonwealth Games, while additional food and beverage offerings are also being introduced in the venue atrium.

Remarked Stephen Vaughan, Chief Executive at Ricoh Arena, “This investment ensures that Ricoh Arena and North East Coventry will continue to feel the economic benefit of having the Commonwealth Games for many years to come thanks to its top-class facilities.”

“As a venue we take great pride in being at the forefront of the event industry’s curve – as was seen with the implementation of 5G technology last year – and we feel this latest investment will enable us to realize the venue’s full potential by attracting more large-scale conferences and exhibitions, on top of the hundreds that we already host every year, and in turn, creating more jobs from additional food and beverage outlets,” Vaughan added.

“This is an exciting time for Coventry with City of Culture and Commonwealth Games on the horizon, and we are looking forward to playing our part in helping the region to flourish from both of their legacies in the years to come,” the head honcho enthused.

Ricoh Arena is one of the UK’s most versatile venues for live sport, music, conferences and exhibitions, putting the Midlands on the map as a leading destination for events.

The venue boasts a 32,000-seater stadium bowl alongside the 6,000 square meter Ericsson Indoor Arena and 80 versatile suites for holding meetings. There is also an onsite 121-bedroom DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel and Grosvenor Casino.

The Ricoh Arena is used by the Wasps rugby union club and the site is also home to Arena Park Shopping Centre, containing one of UK’s largest Tesco Extra hypermarkets.

The Coventry-based venue is within a two-hour car journey of 75 percent of the UK, and is almost at a shouting distance – 20 minutes away from the Birmingham Airport.

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