Tramlines and World Snooker – the Sheffield events boosting the economy

Richard Eyre, Head Of City Centre Management in Sheffield
Richard Eyre, Head Of City Centre Management in Sheffield

Sheffield is still on the map when it comes to hosting major events, despite the council battling increasing budget cuts.

That’s the message from Richard Eyre, the council’s Head of City Centre and Major Events, who says the city is open for business and fighting back against austerity measures.

Richard acknowledges the council is under financial pressures but says hosting events is vital for boosting Sheffield’s economy and attracting investors.

“There are a lot of pressures on the public sector and some big decisions to be made about public sector funding but we are still in the market for big events in Sheffield,” he said.

“We need the World Snooker and Tramlines to raise the profile of the city and for the commercial element.

“There are millions of people worldwide who watch the snooker, particularly in China, and that can encourage investment in the city. Events have a positive economic impact from an investment point of view.”

But attracting investment means competing with other major cities which are also bidding to host major events.

“There is a lot of competition from London, Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester so Sheffield needs to be bidding but also creating its own events. I’d love to have a comedy festival but we need commercial partners.

“Sometimes you have to be realistic because we are talking about millions of pounds to host some events but we have the opportunity to work with businesses, partners and sponsors.

“Sheffield is very fortunate to have some cracking facilities with music and sport and we need to capitalise on these. If we have 500 delegates coming to Ponds Forge we could do so much more for them. We should really be showcasing the city to them and their families.”

Richard’s team is already looking ahead to 2022 for major events and the snooker is even longer as it’s a 10 year contract. Some occasions are more unpredictable – no one had planned for the England team to reach the semi-final of the World Cup.

All opportunities are being considered though. “If England bids for the 2026 World Cup does Sheffield want to be part of that? Do we need to be thinking about holding any events if England get through to the semi-finals of the Euros? It’s our responsibility to explore every opportunity for the city.”