World Cup of Gymnastics set for London

Barry Hearn announces move from Glasgow; coverage set for Sky Sports.

World Cup of Gymnastics set for London

The 2017 World Cup of Gymnastics will be held in London's O2 Arena, the event's promoter Barry Hearn has announced.

The last three World Cup of Gymnastics have been held in Glasgow's Emirates Arena, but Hearn has promised a  bigger competition that will make the likes of Team GB Olympians Max Whitlock and Amy Tinkler "global superstars".

“We’re not messing about,” he said. “We’re going to the O2 and it’s going to be lavish. It’s going to be parties. It’s not just about a provincial domestic event, it’s about taking these guys and making them global superstars. Not just once every four years, but every day.”

The event will take place on 8th April, featuring eight national gymnastics teams. There will be six men's events - floor, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars and high bar - and four women's - vault, uneven bars, beam and floor.

Sky Sports has acquired the broadcast rights for the World Cup of Gymnastics and will show the entire day of competition live. 10.4 million viewers tuned in to watch Whitlock win gold in Rio, where gymnastics was one of the most popular sports among British audiences.

Jane Allen, the chief executive of British Gymnastics, described the move to the O2 as a "gamble", but said that the growth of the sport in the UK has been encouraging, with participation up 10-15 per cent every year since the London Olympics.

"When you’re having that sort of growth in your numbers, you feel a real benefit,” she said. “Our clubs are expanding too, and we’ve got better business models out there. They’re not just family clubs, they’re business clubs. They’re attracting investment.

“In terms of spectators, we’ve sold out the Emirates Arena in Glasgow for the past three years. If we could sell 5,000 in Glasgow what could we get in London? So we’ve taken the gamble to go to the O2. We’ve been very fortunate, we’ve got some very good athletes and without them we wouldn’t have the product. But we’re also represented by 1,500 gymnastics clubs across the country.”