The focal point for the 2002 Commonwealth Games was Sportcity, situated to the East of Manchester city centre. Costing £110 million, of which £92 million came from the Sport England Lottery Fund, Sportcity is the largest integrated sports development in Britain, comprising:
the City of Manchester Stadium – £77m of lottery funding, total project cost of £110m
a 400 metre Athletics track
an indoor Athletics training facility
a National Centre for Squash with seven courts
an Indoor Tennis Centre
Sports Science and Medicine facilities
the National Cycling Centre
There are opportunities for the local community to use all of the Sportcity facilities such as the National Squash Centre, tennis centre, indoor and outdoor athletics track, health and fitness suite and sports medicine facilities every day of the year.
Sportcity is also the North West home of the English Institute of Sport, part of a nationwide network of world class training facilities and support services designed to improve the performance of Britain’s top athletes.
City of Manchester Stadium
Sport England invested £77 million of lottery funding into the City of Manchester Stadium, which was the centrepiece of the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games. A further £33 million of funding came from the City Council.
The Stadium was officially handed over to Manchester City Football Club (MCFC) in July 2003, thus ensuring a lasting legacy for the city of Manchester and the people of the North West.
As the anchor tenant, MCFC is responsible for all maintenance, repair, and renewal of the facility as well as all operational risk. The deal ensures that the stadium does not become a “white elephant”. Sport England and Manchester City Council has agreed a profit sharing scheme with MCFC, which means that 50% of the value of every seat over 32,000 and 60% of the value of every seat above 40,000 sold at MCFC matches will be reinvested into local sports development programmes and local sports facilities. It is estimated that at least £2m in rent per year will be available for this purpose and all usage is at Sport England’s discretion. The Stadium is also available for 100 days per year community usage, which should include 30 days use of the pitch per year. Sport England and Manchester City Council are currently developing a programme of usage at the Stadium. Usage could include events such as local and regional schools or club finals, educational uses, such as the Learning Through Football Programme, community adult education programmes, coach education courses etc. We are also in discussion with MCFC to agree a policy for the distribution of surplus match day tickets to local people and school children at nil/reduced cost within a reasonable period before the start of a match.
The athletics track that was used at the Games has been moved to four sites – the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, the Harvey Hadden Leisure Centre in Nottingham, Thorns Park Athletics Stadium in Wakefield, and the North East Pole Vault Academy. This has ensured that the track has not gone to waste and illustrates how the funding of international sports events can offer a lasting sporting legacy.
National Squash Centre
The £3.5 million National Squash Centre opened in April 2002. With six permanent singles courts convertible to four doubles courts and one glass exhibition court, on a unique moveable hover-pad system, the Centre is one of the world’s premier squash facilities and a focus for the development of the sport from grass roots through to international level. The Centre hosted the squash competition for the Commonwealth Games and is the home for England Squash.
A scheme involving Manchester City Council and other partners was launched on the opening of the Centre, which supported the appointment of a jointly funded squash development officer and a city-wide programme to introduce over 6,000 school children to the sport each year. The Centre is also being used as a “pay & play” facility for local residents.
Athletics Warm-Up Track
Used as a warm-up and training area during the Commonwealth Games, the athletics track at the side of the Stadium is to become a base for a hotbed of leading athletics activities in the region. Following a £3.5 million investment from the North West Development Agency and the European Regional Development Fund, a new 6000-seat arena for athletics and major events is being built during 2003.
The new arena will be the centrepiece of a range of community and school activities, as well as regional, national and international events. The Sportcity arena will be a unique athlete, media and spectator-friendly stadium with 60 event days a year and the potential to grow into the national home of a number of high-profile athletics events. Independent consultants say it will draw up to 1.5 million visitors to east Manchester in the next 10 years and create 95 jobs.
National Cycling Centre
Manchester Velodrome is an internationally renowned venue for track cycling and other major sporting events. The £9.5 million Centre, which opened in September 1994, was developed as a joint venture between the then English Sports Council (£2 million grant), Manchester City Council and the British Cycling Federation and is one of only two facilities in the country to be awarded British Olympic Association Accreditation. Sport England continues to support the Velodrome with a grant of £220,000 per year. The venue area has permanent seating for 3,500 spectators, hospitality boxes and facilities for VIPs, officials and media. It also provides management accommodation, competitor, spectator and technical services and extensive car and coach parking. The venue hosted the World Track Cycling Championships in 1996.
The Centre is open to members of the general public, regardless of ability, and one–hour taster sessions are provided for beginners. It also offers its facilities for usage by youngsters involved in Sport England’s Sport Action Zone programme. Although primarily a cycle facility, the Manchester Velodrome offers first class facilities and services for other sports and events – such as a fully sprung sports courts for basketball, netball and badminton – and has hosted national and international events such as the European Blind Football Championships in July 2003 .
Manchester Aquatics Centre
The Aquatics Centre opened in July 2000 as a new swimming and diving facility. Sport England provided a Lottery Fund award of £22million towards the cost of the £32million Centre.
The facility is the only complex in the UK with two 50 metre pools. One is for community use and the other for is used as the regional high performance centre for elite swimmers. In its first 12 months of operation (September 2000-September 2001) a total of 675,331 visits were made to the Manchester Aquatics Centre – of these more than 350,000 were casual swimmers. This figure has exceeded all expectations. The Centre also has excellent gym and leisure facilities used extensively by the local community.
Bolton Arena opened its doors to the public on 14 April 2001 and celebrated an official opening in July 2001. Located adjacent to the Reebok Stadium, the £15million Arena, which received Sport England Lottery Fund support of £11.3 million, is one of the largest indoor tennis centres in the North West and played host to the badminton events in the Commonwealth Games 2002. The Lawn Tennis Association’s North West Regional Tennis Centre is also located at the Arena. In addition to world-class indoor tennis facilities, the Arena boasts six outdoor tennis courts; a health and fitness centre; a 400 metre athletics track/field athletics; multi-use games area; full-sized association football pitch; and a ‘street’ basketball and netball pitch.
The Lottery funded Bolton Arena
The Arena has a Sport Education Theatre (SET) which uses the latest technology to allow online coaching by experts to anyone in the world. The SET provides a resource for sports education and performance development for schools, colleges and local clubs. The Arena also boasts a Sports Science and Performance Unit, which provides the latest in sports science technology and sports performance testing.
Belle Vue Leisure Centre
The £3.2 million Belle Vue development received £2.9 million from the Sport England Lottery Fund. The venue hosted the hockey competition in the Commonwealth Games. Located just five minutes from Sportcity, the Centre includes:
two water based hockey pitches
an indoor sports hall with eight international standard badminton courts
comprehensive health and fitness facilities
a cricket academy
a multi-media conference centre
As part of the new English Institute of Sport network linked to the Manchester Aquatics Centre and Sportcity, the venue is a Regional Performance Centre for both hockey and badminton.