By Joe Paley, Account Executive [email protected]
One of world sport’s oldest rivalries will be on show in Cardiff this week when the highly anticipated Investec Ashes series begins.
Going way back to 1882, the Ashes has been at the centre of British sporting theatre with figures such as W.G Grace, Donald Bradman, Ian Botham and Ricky Ponting lighting up audiences around the world.
Australia versus England in test cricket is located at the very epicentre of the sport. It is quite an achievement that whilst cricket continues to grow its appeal to younger audiences it has remained faithful to the historic series that was created long back in 1882.
But for Cardiff as a whole, hosting an Ashes Test for the second time is a huge feat. When the first Test of the 2009 Ashes was held in Cardiff, England held on for a historic draw in controversial circumstances. So it was almost anti-climactic when Cardiff was not named on the list of venues for the 2013 Ashes. Nevertheless, Cardiff is back in the spotlight and is hosting the first Test of the most anticipated Ashes series for a generation.
This is not the first time Cardiff has been in the public eye in recent times however. Just last year the NATO summit was held in Newport, with the world’s most powerful leaders present on Welsh shores. The likes of Obama, Cameron and Merkel posed for photos outside of Cardiff Castle with the world’s press just yards away (That day I was fortunate to meet Fox News Chief Washington Correspondent Ed Henry outside of Henry’s Bar on Greyfriars Road).
Furthermore four years earlier in 2010, the Ryder Cup, golf’s premier tournament was held at the Celtic Manor in Newport. Celebrities including Will Smith and Michael Jordon were reportedly in the country for the event.
And only last week it was announced that after successfully staging the European Super Cup at the Cardiff City Stadium last summer, the Millennium Stadium will host the Champions League final in 2017.
The Rugby World Cup also comes to Cardiff later this year with the Millennium Stadium hosting a number of games for the tournament.
The last five years have seen tremendous progress for Cardiff as an events destination. The capital of Wales has been put on the world map with the Ryder Cup, the NATO Summit and now the Ashes. With the Rugby World Cup and the Champions League Final to follow, Cardiff has the opportunity to be a serious contender for more international events and bolster its brand reputation on the world stage.