Hollywood blockbusters could be filmed a matter of minutes from Coventry thanks to an innovative change at the NEC.
Arenas operated by the NEC Group are set to be turned into film and TV studios over the next few months.
That means major productions could be brought to the NEC or the Resorts World Arena.
The West Midlands has long punched below its weight when it comes to production, behind the likes of the North West and even Bristol.
But this move could potentially breathe some life into the industry.
Chief executive Paul Thandi said it’s exciting news for both the company and its staff.
He said: “It’s a market that we’ve been targeting, and we’ve filmed before in our halls – we’ve had commercials take place in our halls and various other bits and pieces.
“And we are looking at targeting this market a bit more in terms of filming some programming. We’ve filmed JLR product launches and commercials on site actually. I can’t remember which car, but one of their European commercials was filmed on site.
“In terms of the arena, yes it will be arena staff, cause it’ll be our own staff. So one of the great things that the Chancellor and the government have done is also allow flexi-furlough, so you can take people off furlough, bring them back if there’s work, and then put them back onto furlough. So that’s something we’ll be doing, and we will of course use our own staff where possible.
“There’s one particular piece of business, should we be able to contract it, that is a specific arena setting. I can’t tell you what it is, but if it does get filmed there we’ll announce it, because it’s quite poignant at this point in time.”
Discussions have already taken place between the company and TV production companies, with the group’s Managing Director of Arenas, Guy Dunston, confirming last week that they had been in touch with Film Birmingham (the council’s film and television office) ‘to see where further opportunities are available.’
The Utilita Arena covers 62,500 square feet of space, with an additional 16,000 sq ft available at the sports hall facility directly below the arena, while Resorts World Arena covers 49,000 sq ft with an additional 30,500 sq ft available through the arena’s annex.
Production companies also have the opportunity to use the NEC’s 250,000 square metres of exhibition spaces for productions.