The organizing committee for the 2010 European Championships in Barcelona is making a big investment in the event, and have announced several innovations to increase fan participation and excitement.
The Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium in Montjuïc will receive a major facelift, part of a 30 million Euro investment which also includes renovations to training and warm-up facilities. Work began earlier this month.
In addition, organizers have shortened the program to a more compact six days, and have moved all the walks and the marathons completely outside of the stadium to make them more accessible to fans. Even the opening ceremonies will be outside of the stadium.
"I think in the future we need to sell athletics in the city," said Spanish federation president José María Odriozola at a press conference in Torino last week. "The opening ceremony will be in the Plaza d'España. A half million people will be able to be in the streets."
Next year will mark the 20th edition of these championships, the last time they will be held on a four-year cycle. After that, they will change to a two-year cycle.
The 2010 European Championships will run open on July 26 with 1400 athletes from 50 countries. Organizers said the championships would attract 400 million television viewers.