40 years of show business | NEC history

It’s fair to say a lot has changed since HM The Queen officially opened the NEC in 1976. We’ve grown significantly in size and reputation for starters, to become the UK’s number one venue of choice for organisers, exhibitors and visitors. We originally had seven exhibition halls - today we have 18. Not to mention 32 conference suites and a host of additional outdoor spaces.

It’s not been easy though. For 40 years we’ve challenged, questioned and pushed our industry to ensure we continue to evolve and embrace change because only by doing so can we ensure our customers can too. It’s an approach that works, as our flexible spaces now play host to over 2.3 million guests and 500 events every year. Some small, some big, some massive, but all delivered with the same attention to detail and drive for innovation as our first Spring Fair all those years ago.

Duty calls | Corporate Social Responsibility

As respected leaders in the events industry, we understand we have a real responsibility to act with honesty and transparency at all times. So we do, day in, day out. If an environmental issue needs addressing, we’ll tackle it head on drawing on our 40 years of experience. If our local communities and neighbourhoods need support, we’re always on hand to provide a helping one. We also work hard to ensure others can too, creating jobs and building careers at every opportunity.


Forever forward thinking | Future plans

Since the day we first opened our doors, we’ve made it our mission to only look forwards. With the arrival of Resorts World, we’re now a genuine 24/7 destination where business doesn’t simply mix with pleasure, it becomes best friends. To reflect this, we’re directly investing the profits from our shows straight back into the venue to enhance its appearance and deliver a more vibrant experience to our visitors.

We also remain passionate supporters of the HS2 Birmingham Interchange and UK Central. We believe HS2 will put in place the essential infrastructure necessary to do business effectively across the UK, Europe and beyond, while UK Central will provide a host of new inward investment opportunities. Win-win.

Altogether better | The NEC Group

The NEC is just one part of the world-famous NEC Group, which includes a number of uniquely different, yet like-minded brands.

For all your conferencing needs there’s the NEC of course but also the ICC and the Vox. For a night of top entertainment there’s Resorts World Arena and Arena Birmingham. Award-winning catering is served up by Amadeus, while Amplify specialises in taking hospitality to the next level. The NEC Group even includes a national ticketing agency, The Ticket Factory.

But why stop there? NEC Group Venue Partnerships harnesses the NEC Group's expertise in managing world-class venues. It offers consultancy services and venue management to those organisations who are considering either building a new convention center or arena, or who are revisiting their current facilities.

Trumpet blowing | Our awards

While it’s not really in our nature to scream and shout about the accolades we’ve picked up over the years, it doesn’t make us any less proud of them. The most recent additions to our trophy cabinet were the 2016 AEO Venue of the Year and the 2015 Exhibition News Eco awards. The Exhibition News Eco award is just one of the many sustainability awards we’ve picked up for our ongoing commitment to environmental management.


Please search our browse our news stories


The official sponsors and partners of the NEC, Birmingham


Need to download a document? Please head to our Downloads page and use our search bar.


Find out more information about our sustainability.



We love live events and want to share a little bit of it and give you an insight into our world.