As well as Lancashire being home to many of the country’s top outdoor sports stadiums, it is also home to many world class indoor sports arenas. These indoor facilities host a variety of sports and are able to accommodate a number of spectators who come to support their teams.
The Manchester Velodrome is the home of British cycling and is part of the National Cycling Centre. It can seat 3,500 spectators and is only one of two velodromes that operate within the United Kingdom. Although it is used by amateur cyclists it is also home to many professional sportsmen.
As well as the national squads using the facility it is also the home base for the UCI Pro Team Sky. The team has recently won the Tour de France six times in the last seven years. This has included wins for Bradley Wiggins in 2012, Chris Froome in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017. He failed to win his fifth title in 2018 but this was won by his team mate Geraint Thomas.
Manchester Thunder play in the Netball Superleague and they play their home matches at either the Wright Robinson Sports College or the Manchester Arena. The Manchester Arena has the highest seating-capacity of any indoor arena in the United Kingdom and the second highest in the European Union.
As well as netball the arena also hosts swimming and boxing events. The capacity is 21,000 which means that many high profile and international events are hosted at the arena. There are more ticket sales for sporting events during the year than any other indoor venue in the country.
The Echo Arena in Liverpool is another indoor stadium with a large capacity. It can accommodate up to 11,000 spectators and it was opened in 2008. It has hosted Darts tournaments, Judo competitions, Boxing contests, Davis Cup Tennis matches and Badminton championships.
The largest indoor swimming facility in the region is the Manchester Aquatic Centre that was purpose built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games. It has two 50 metre sized pools and a 25-metre diving pool. Its other facilities include a leisure pool and a fitness room.
It has held many international swimming and diving events plus it is also used for the Lancashire County Championships in all age groups every year. It is able to seat 1000 spectators and is a popular venue for recreational as well as competitive swimmers.
The Altrincham Ice Dome is the home to the Manchester Storm and the Altrincham Aces ice hockey clubs. The dome can seat 2440 spectators and is the centre of National ice hockey in the region. The facility was built in 2006 and is popular as a leisure facility for the general public to use. Despite financial and contractual difficulties that have been encountered recently it still supports the county’s leading ice hockey teams in the National League.
There isn’t a county in the country with better indoor sporting facilities. This has resulted in a wide variety of sports using Lancashire for both domestic and international competitions, and the result is that many Lancastrians have been inspired into becoming keen participants.