Ashes boost to Wales

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Cardiff officials were hoping the Welsh capital would enjoy significant knock–on economic benefits from hosting the first Test of the Ashes cricket series between England and Australia.

The first day of the five–day match began on Wednesday 8 July, with the Swalec Stadium becoming the newest Ashes venue. Glamorgan first played county cricket at the ground – called Sophia Gardens prior to a 10–year sponsorship deal with Swalec – in 1967. However, the venue underwent a £9. 5m revamp in order to secure an Ashes Test, and reopened with a capacity of 16, 000 in May 2008. "The vision to bring Test match cricket to Cardiff will deliver long–term benefits to the city and region, " said Richard Thomas, managing director of Cardiff & Co, the organisation responsible for promoting Cardiff. "The Test was broadcast to a live TV audience of 40m with recorded highlights transmitted to more than 100m people. We're particularly pleased that we've been able to use the Ashes as a hook to promote Cardiff as an investment location. " Nigel Howells, Cardiff council's executive member for sport, leisure and culture, also told [local newspaper] Wales on Sunday: "I really believe all the different agencies have pulled together to ensure everybody will have the world–class experience. Once again I am confident Cardiff will deliver. "Around 100, 000 fans were expected to travel to the city for the match, which was the first in the history of the Ashes to take place in Wales. Welsh First Minister Rhodri Morgan said: "Getting the Ashes to Wales is a wonderful opportunity to launch the new Swalec stadium as a Test match venue that is hard to equal for its facilities and because it is only a stone's throw away from the city centre. Once the world's cricket fans have tasted test cricket in Cardiff, we will be on the map and they will want to come back for more. "2009 Ashes Series: England v AustraliaWednesday, 8 July – Sunday, 12 July – 1st Test (Cardiff)Thursday, 16 July – Monday, 20 July – 2nd Test (Lord's)Thursday, 30 July – Monday, 3 August – 3rd Test (Edgbaston)Friday, 7 August – Tuesday, 11 August – 4th Test (Headingley)Thursday, 20 August – Monday, 24 August) – 5th Test (The Oval)About The Sport Briefing This story has been reproduced with the kind permission of The Sport Briefing. The Sport Briefing is published by PA Sport and can be found at: www. thesportbriefing. comThe Sport Briefing is updated as and when news happens, from across the global business of sport. The industry's biggest stories have an accompanying email alert, and The Sport Briefing sends subscribers a daily digest to give them an easy–to–read overview of the day's main events. Contact rory. squires@thesportbriefing. com for more information.

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