Our Sporting History & Heritage

We’re a bit obsessed with sport in the West Midlands (which is probably why so many sports began right here). Our football teams – including Coventry City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Aston Villa, Birmingham City, West Bromwich Albion and Walsall – are all followed intensely and passionately.

Cricket enthusiasts are equally well-served, with county, one-day, test and international cricket being regularly hosted at Birmingham’s legendary Edgbaston Stadium. And, for those preferring an ovalshaped ball, Premiership Rugby Union club Wasps is also here.

Golf is a very big deal in these parts too. We’ve two championship golf courses on our doorstep, and we’re home to the UK’s Professional Golfers Association. The Ryder Cup is a regular visitor, as is the PGA European Tour, the British Masters, and the English Open.

We’re also one of the few places in the UK where you can see top international athletics (including the Wanda Diamond League) and we host WTA tennis, world championship snooker, international badminton, professional boxing, horseracing, and plenty more. Just think of a spectator sport and you can probably find it here in Birmingham and the West Midlands.



A region steeped in a rich sporting history

1823 - Rugby is invented in the West Midland market town of the same name

1859 - The very first game of lawn tennis was played in Birmingham

1870s - Aston Villa (1874) and Birmingham City (1875), two of the oldest professional football teams in the world, are founded

1877 - Birchfield Harriers Athletics Club starts up, and soon becomes famous for offering sporting opportunities in the community

1888 - Birmingham and District Cricket League is created, the very first of its kind

1888 - The very first football league is invented, and it all begins in Aston

1902 - Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham's oldest international sports venue, stages its first Test Match

1966 - Three FIFA World Cup matches are hosted at Villa Park

1983 - The Birmingham Bulls are among the first to bring American Football to the UK

1985 - The Belfry is host to its first Ryder Cup. It returns three more times, making the West Midlands venue its most visited

1993 - The World Artistic Gymnastics Championships open to the National Indoor Arena, before moving on to the National Exhibition Centre (NEC)

1999 - The World Judo Championships arrive at Arena Birmingham

2003 - A decade since they were first hosted in the city, the Badminton World Championships return to Birmingham

2005 - The world watches as an Ashes Test Match is played in Edgbaston

2010 - The World Wheelchair Basketball Championships pave the way to the 2021 Paralympics

2015 - The Rugby Union World Cup visits Villa Park

2018 - 15 years since they arrived in Birmingham, and in the UK, for the first time, the World Indoor Athletic Championships return to the West Midlands

2022 - Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games wow in the West Midlands