Birmingham City Council has agreed a deal for the Midlands Hurricanes rugby league team to begin playing games on the complex of Alexander Stadium, which served as the main venue for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The Hurricanes compete in the third-tier League One and the team will play its 2023 fixtures at Alexander Stadium, starting with a match against Cornwall on February 19.
The team will use the community pitch adjacent to the main stadium and it is hoped the deal will generate new interest in rugby league across Birmingham.
The Hurricanes are the latest partner secured by Birmingham City Council to give Alexander Stadium a year-round purpose following the Commonwealth Games. Other organisations set to have a presence at the venue include Birmingham City University, UK Athletics and Birchfield Harriers Athletics Club.
Greg Wood, Hurricanes chief executive, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have agreed the partnership with the stadium to make it the home of the Hurricanes going forward.
“Our ambition as a club is to grow the sport in the Midlands and by having such a prestigious venue as our hub, it gives a real focal point for the team, community and hopefully the region to get behind. We look forward to the growth of the sport and the club and see the stadium move as a key part of this as it gives us the infrastructure to grow the game within other areas such as women’s and wheelchair rugby.”
Councillor Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, added: “We are delighted to welcome the Midlands Hurricanes to the Alexander Stadium. Rugby league is an exciting sport, as demonstrated by the recent World Cup that was staged here in England.
“The Hurricanes have an ambition to grow the sport in the city and wider region, which is something that reflects our own aims to improve levels of participation in sport and physical activity. The stadium will provide the club with a world-class base for their operations, adding to our growing roster of partnerships and I wish them the very best for the season ahead.”
Alexander Stadium hosted a sold-out athletics programme during the Games and underwent a £72m (€82m/$88m) revamp ahead of the event, with its permanent capacity increasing from 12,700 to 18,000.
Temporary seating meant that the stadium could host up to 30,000 spectators during the Games and Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet has been discussing legacy plans for the venue and surrounding parkland.
In November, Alexander Stadium was awarded hosting rights for the 2026 edition of the European Athletics Championships. It will mark the first time that a British city has hosted the event.