Sector Focus

Sport The Business of Sport Aerial view: the Ricoh Arena

Ricoh Arena secures funds

Coventry’s Ricoh Arena has secured £3.8m of Government funds towards major refurbishment works to the sporting venue, as part of its preparations for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. The cash has been made

available to the venue via the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), which successfully secured the investment from £66m worth of Government funding provided to the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) as part of the government’s Getting Building Fund. An additional £1.4m has also

been made available to Ricoh Arena via CWLEP from the Local Growth Fund and Growing Places Fund. The estimated £5.3m investment

will see a new pavilion installed – 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 state-of-the-art AV and conference facilities. The Commonwealth Convention

Centre will be created as a result of major refurbishment works of the venue’s lower halls on the south side of the venue, and there will be more than 8,000 square metres of conference and exhibition event space. The existing 6,000 square metre

exhibition hall will also undergo cosmetic refurbishments in preparations for hosting judo and wrestling at the Commonwealth Games, while additional food and beverage offerings are also being introduced in the venue atrium. Stephen Vaughan, chief

executive at Ricoh Arena, said: “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. “As a venue we take great pride

in being at the forefront of the event industry’s curve and we feel this latest investment will enable us to realise the venue’s full potential.”

66 CHAMBERLINK October 2020

Teenager heads to US to pursue ‘hoop dream’

By Dan Harrison

A Birmingham teenager is heading across the Atlantic to pursue his basketball dream after catching the eye while playing for the City of Birmingham Rockets. Fourteen-year-old Alasan Njie-

Morgan has earned a scholarship at the Phelps Prep School in Pennsylvania, which has a reputation for developing high- level basketball players. The life-changing opportunity

arose thanks to the Rockets’ close links with Houston-based coach Donte Mathis, who regularly appears at the Birmingham club’s International Summer Camp along with NBA legend Hakeem ‘The Dream’ Olajuwan. Although this year’s summer

camp was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Mathis was still alerted to Alasan’s potential. Through Mathis’ connections,

the Acocks Green youngster was offered a lucrative scholarship at Phelps where he will s pend the next four years. Rob Palmer, managing director

of the City of Birmingham Rockets, said: “Alasan expressed an interest in pursuing his basketball journey and I brought Donte into the conversation. “Donte has been a really good

connection for us over the past four years. He asked us to send over some video footage. “It is quite unusual for someone

of that age to receive an offer like this but Alasan is a really good talent and the future is bright for him.

“He is mature and level-headed

and his parents have been really supportive in allowing him to pursue the opportunity. “It is an amazing commitment

from the school and they’ve now got him for four years to get him ready for the next step. I’ve no doubt he’ll be a success there.” The Rockets, whose main base is at Nechells Wellbeing Centre, have

a comprehensive junior programme involving 800 youngsters each week. The club’s senior men’s team competes in the National League Division 3 Midlands, while its senior women’s team competes in the West Midlands Ladies Premier League. Chamber chief executive Paul

Faulkner is among the club’s board members.

Opticians extend sponsorship

Family-owned optician Scrivens is to extend its sponsorship of Warwickshire County Cricket Club. The firm’s name will continue to be seen on the

front of the team’s shirts until the end of the 2024 season. Scrivens began its partnership with Warwickshire

CCC in 2013 and subsequently became the first class cricket front of shirt partner in 2015.

Ben Seifas, commercial partnerships manager at

Warwickshire CCC, said: “The team at Scrivens are actively engaged in everything that the Bears do on and off the pitch and they have been an outstanding partner to the club since 2013. “We’re thrilled that we can extend our agreement

on a long-term basis, which will ensure that the partnership runs for at least 11 years.”

Slam dunk: Alasan Njie-Morgan in action

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