English city Birmingham, host of this year’s multi-sport Commonwealth Games, will stage the 2026 European Athletics Championships after bidding rival Budapest, Hungary, withdrew from the running.
European Athletics president Dobromir Karamarinov said: "I am absolutely delighted to announce that we have awarded the 2026 European Athletics Championships to Birmingham.
"The British public has a huge appreciation for world-class athletics and the British crowds are among the most knowledgeable, passionate, and enthusiastic anywhere in the world.
"We saw this recently at the Commonwealth Games where the stands were at full capacity, even for the morning sessions.
"We are sure that Europe's best athletes will be competing in a full stadium every day and in front of a huge television audience not just in Europe but globally as well.
"We really couldn't ask for a better host city and venue for our showcase event in 2026."
Birmingham successfully staged athletics events at the newly rebuilt Alexander Stadium during the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which was held from July 28 to August 8. It also previously hosted the 2007 European Athletics Indoor Championships and the 2003 and 2018 World Athletics Indoor Championships.
The 2026 hosting rights decision, announced on Friday's (November 11) opening of the European Athletics Council meeting in Warsaw, Poland, means the event will run separately from the third multi-sports European Champions due to take place that year.
The European Athletics Championship was part of the first two multi-sport European Championships in 2018 and this year. Ahead of the Munich 2022 edition, the European Athletics governing body announced it would revert to standalone editions for its flagship event going forward.
However, during Munich 2022, Karamarinov said the federation supported the multi-sports concept for the quadrennial European Championships but added it would need to make “important adaptations” before deciding its future.
At the time, he said: “European Athletics is extremely happy with the value of the multi-sport concept. But after two editions – Berlin and Glasgow, and now Munich – we have to really study the values.
“It is a process, and we will keep people informed. This is a matter for our Council – our Council will decide. It doesn’t concern our next Championships – they are obviously stand-alone in Rome in 2024. But for 2026, we will decide soon – it will not be, let’s say, in one year’s time.”
While Birmingham has been awarded the rights to the 2026 European Athletics Championships, it is understood European Athletics has kept the door open for the sport’s inclusion in the multi-sport event in 2026 if the city makes a successful bid for the entire event.
Last week, Munich 2022 organizers announced the event recorded more than 750 million viewer hours across the nine participating sports on free-to-air television and digital platforms.
More than 40 free-to-air channels broadcast the second edition of the multi-sport tournament, with online media reporting that the audience reach came to 1.46 billion people. The audience reaches for print and social media were 1.69 billion and 1.04 billion, respectively.
The organizers said the research confirmed the overall media success of the event, which also attracted 1.47 million visitors to the Olympiapark, the city center, and other venues in Munich.
Meanwhile, the tourist value to the city has been estimated at around €122 million ($122.5 million).