Saturday, 4 May 2013


This article appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
Odds in our favour
by Tom Mack
Bookies are taking bets on the race to become the 2017 Capital of Culture – with one making Leicester joint second favourites.
William Hill has the city at 5/1, in equal second place with Swansea Bay and only Chester, at 4/1, has better odds to win.
In total there are 11 cities vying for the title and Leicester's multi-cultural population is helping boost the odds in its favour.
William Hill spokesman Joe Crilly said: "There's an awful lot of regeneration going on in Leicester and it's vastly multicultural.
"I went to the University of Leicester for four years and I know myself it has been a standard-bearer for multiculturalism in Europe."But he said the betting had been fairly quiet so far.
"There have been a couple of bets placed on Leicester to win since we started on Wednesday.
"It's not much of a money-spinner compared to the football and the betting is predominantly for Dundee."
Ladrokes have been less generous to Leicester, putting the city in equal sixth place with Plymouth at 8/1. Ahead of it are Aberdeen, Chester and Southampton and Portsmouth, with Swansea Bay as favourite.
The other locations in the running to become the 2017 UK Capital of Culture are Hull, Southend on Sea, East Kent, Hastings & Bexhill on Sea.
Ladbrokes spokeswoman Jessica Bridge said: "The odds were worked out in the usual way based on the facts and figures we knew, as well as the likely impact of the celebrities backing the cities and the success of the cities that have gone for the title in previous years.
"In terms of betting, the most has been for Swansea Bay and the Southampton and Portsmouth joint bid isn't doing badly for money being put down.
"There hasn't been a lot of love for Leicester yet but it's still early days."
Among the celebrity backers for Leicester to win the title is actor and film director Richard Attenborough.
Lord Attenborough grew up in Leicester and he made his stage debut as a boy at the city's Little Theatre.
He has been a life-long supporter of the city's arts scene and his collection of ceramics by Pablo Picasso are on long-term loan to the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery.
The 89-year-old said the city had "evolved into a huge multi-cultural centre".
If Leicester wins, it aims to stage a Festival of Light, based on the annual Diwali celebrations, as well as a re-enactment of the Richard III story.

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