Published: 18 Sep 2015

A new direction for the NEC

The UK’s number one venue, the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), has taken a 25% stake in the inaugural Sports Show, a new family event created to inspire kids to play, love and live sport. This is the first time in its history that the NEC has financially invested in an event where the venue team will play the role of joint organiser as well as host.

The Sports Show - the brainchild of Superskills founder Ed Rusling and rugby legends Will Greenwood and Austin Healey - will be held at the NEC from 24-26 June 2016.

The exciting new event will bring together a huge variety of sports and fun activities under one roof. Visitors will be able to try out over 15 different sports including rugby, football, netball and athletics across the NEC’s flexible indoor and outdoor event space. Sporting heroes will also be on hand throughout the three-day event to offer coaching sessions and share their expertise.

Organisers are working closely with National Governing Bodies to ensure that each sport is delivered to the highest standard. The Rugby Football Union, England Netball Association, Table Tennis England and Badminton England have already given the event their official sign of approval.

Paul Thandi, CEO of the NEC Group, said: “ We've made some positive changes to the way we are structured to work with our existing and new customers, and working alongside Ed and his  brilliant team is a great example of how we’ll be working with our customers in the future across all of our platforms. Sports and Family experiences are already close to us, so this is something we just love doing. We are really looking forward to being part of this project and turning the NEC into a fantastic sporting venue over the three days of Sports Show. This is an amazing opportunity for families and kids to take part in a large number of sports all under one roof and learn from sporting heroes.”

With unrivalled connectivity by road, rail and air, the NEC is the most conveniently located venue in the country which will help make this a truly national event. 

Director of the Sports Show, Ed Rusling, said: “The Sports Show is going to be a playground of fun for kids across the country. We will be taking over most of the NEC and we plan to pack every inch with as many different sports as we can.”

John Probyn, former COO of Live Nation joined the Sports Show team earlier this month. Commenting, on the show, he said: “I am very excited to be joining the Sports Show, it’s a challenging project but I will be part of a world class team and the opportunity to deliver something that has never been done before was just too hard to turn down.”