Over the past 15 years government and city authorities have increasingly seen hosting sports events as a way to achieve policy objectives. They have chased and in some cases paid huge sums to rights holders to attract major sports for the profile and economic benefits they bring with them.
Kelven Tan, marketing head at the Singapore Sports Council has experience of several rights holders approaching the government-funded body directly to offer them events. Singapore will play host to the SPORTELAsia market next week and Singapore won the opportunity to host the event and thereby entertain up to 1000 senior sports TV figures ahead of Shanghai despite the Chinese city offering cash to organisers.
"Rights holders have come to us to stage their events without holding a bidding process because they know we will do it right.”
In London for the Legacy Lives event, Tan predicts this will be a continuing trend. “The cities of Melbourne, London and maybe Singapore and Dubai are very attractive to event owners. Rights holders have come to us to stage their events without holding a bidding process because they know we will do it right.”
Bob Elphinston OAM President of FIBA, speaking at the Legacy Lives conference also highlighted the growing power of those cities who have a well-developed events strategy. Unsurprisingly, the Australian singled out Melbourne but he also noted Denmark’s major event strategy and the efforts of France to stage European and international championships.
He sees the leaders in the event hosting race pulling ahead of the pack by building on their legacy of experience and expertise to attract bigger and more complex events making them stand out choices for rights holders.
If these trends continue it could have a far reaching effect on the balance of power between rights holders and hosts. It also implies that those cities investing in staging major events delivering such legacy benefits puts them in a much stronger competitive position in the future.
But, if the winners are pulling ahead, those who are late to the party may struggle. The land grab for events that has gone on in recent years may deliver such benefits to the leaders that they leave challengers trailing.