Thousands of amateur sportsmen and women from the UK’s biggest companies will be competing in the region next year.
Between 4,000 and 6,000 competitors are expected to take part in the 2015 UK Corporate Games being held in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent for three days in June.
The annual event is the largest multi-sport festival for business in Europe and is coming to the county for the very first time. England’s legendary World Cup-winning goalkeeper and former Stoke City stopper Gordon Banks will be the patron of the popular event.
Speaking before the formal launch at Keele University, Philip Atkins, leader of Staffordshire County Council, said the games presented an opportunity to showcase the region’s economic opportunities. He said:
Very senior figures will be here from some of the country’s biggest and brightest companies and there will be a business enterprise day to showcase Staffordshire and its inward investment opportunities.
Analysis of the 2010 games in Liverpool calculated 4,460 participants spent approximately £2,490,911 on accommodation, food and drink; £390,663 on shopping and visiting attractions; and £136,578 on travel and other expenses.
Mr Atkins said the games offer the opportunity to stimulate job opportunities and to showcase the area to major employers, to help generate income now and in the future. He added:
Thousands of people from across the country will be staying, eating and drinking here and across the county, spending money and seeing for themselves what we have to offer for future visits.
Companies taking part in previous years include IBM, Coca-Cola, KPMG, PWC, GSK and Phones4U.
The joint Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent approach was selected by the games organisers ahead of several other bids.
Competitors will play a range of sports, including hockey, cricket, rugby sevens, netball, football, squash, volleyball, tennis, basketball, running and Dragon boat racing.
Venues include Keele and Staffordshire Universities, Fenton Manor, Newcastle College and Trentham Gardens.
Philip Atkins said: “Not only will the games be a great deal of fun, showcase the county and provide investment opportunities, a healthy workforce benefits everyone and ties in with our aim of an active Staffordshire.”
Games Director Ben Sedgemore said: “From the first moment that we set foot in the area, our Venue Inspection Committee started to believe that it is the perfect destination for the UK Corporate Games in 2015.
“We have no doubt that the thousands of visiting participants will be blown away by what the region has to offer. I even think some local entrants will be unfamiliar with some of these terrific facilities.
“We are really excited to start work on developing the Games and two of our biggest teams have already committed to enter, with CSC bringing 300 participants and Ernst and Young, in their 20th consecutive Games signed up for 200 and we have not even launched yet! That said, we will be welcoming all local businesses big or small to participate and everyone is treated equally in the Games. The Games is the ultimate mix of sport, business and tourism and we really can’t wait.”