Liverpool has been named the UK’s Greatest Sporting City in a survey by ESPN and the University of Bath.
The top spot is said to be a boost for the city as it enters the final phase of a competition to be nominated the UK’s candidate city to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
More than 5,000 sports fans across the country are surveyed in the research project to find the UK’s Greatest Sporting City, which was set up in 2015.
This year Manchester, which is Liverpool’s partner city in the Commonwealth Games bid, has taken second place.
The news, revealed today (8 August), has been welcomed by the Liverpool 2022 bid chair, Brian Barwick.
He says: “To be recognised as the UK’s number one sports city is fantastic news, not only for our bid but for our city.
“If we win the honour of staging the 2022 Commonwealth Games, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and the government will know that they are bringing it to a city that is dynamic, sports mad and fun to be in.”
If Liverpool becomes the candidate city for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, it will then bid with other international cities before a final decision is taken by the CGF towards the end of the year.
A Liverpool Commonwealth Games, held in partnership with Manchester, is expected to accelerate up to £1 billion of investment in the city and would feature a new Everton FC stadium at Bramley Moore Dock as the centrepiece.
Other venues used to stage sports would include a new 50-meter swimming pool on the docks (pictured), as well as the existing Aintree Racecourse, Echo Arena and Convention Centre and Manchester Velodrome and Old Trafford Cricket Ground.
Liverpool heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson has also welcomed Liverpool’s new status as the top sporting city, adding: “As someone born and raised in Liverpool, I already know what an amazing place it is.
“I believe we have a real passion for life, we welcome visitors with a smile and we have a proud sporting tradition which all contributes to make Liverpool a great city.
“It will be amazing for athletics to take place in the brand new Everton Stadium if we are awarded the 2022 Commonwealth Games and I am really excited at the prospect of some of the greats in world sport coming to compete in my hometown.
“I know Liverpool will create the perfect platform to host a truly inspiring and transformational Commonwealth Games in a city that lives and breathes sport.”
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson goes on to say: “Liverpool has a proud sporting history, and to be recognised internationally for this is a great honour. Our vision is to make the entire UK proud of Liverpool, and it is special to know that fans up and down the country already respect our sporting prestige.
“Sport is a tool to change the lives of many, and we believe that Liverpool 2022 will do exactly this. The Games will help to fast-track up to a billion pounds of investment for the city, and we are working around the clock to persuade the government that this bid is perfect to showcase Britain to the world.”