Sport-State Partnerships

 Over the past few years and accelerated by the recession, public sector bodies have emerged as big players in the funding of sport. Whether it’s staging major events, enabling venue construction or acting through sports bodies to achieve policy objectives, the sums involved are very significant. The reasons for the investment are varied too with economic impact, tourism and place branding being caught rapidly by social and community aims.

However, whereas sponsorship went almost two decades without really taking itself seriously, government investment is showing rapid signs of growing up as the new CIES Strategy Programme for public sector officials shows. Scheduled for mid May in Neuchatel, Switzerland this event has attracted interest from high-level officials in countries such as UK. Germany, Switzerland, Turkey, Greece, Dubai, South Africa, Nigeria, India and Canada.

Delegates are determined to discover how to achieve better results from their sports strategies, examine funding models and review how sport can target health and urban regeneration outcomes. The programme has been convened by CIES and TSE Consulting and will draw on the work of top-level academics in the field.

Leading SportBusiness report author David Walmsley is not surprised at the degree of support. His latest report is entitled Sport and the Role of Government: Strategies for successful public, private partnerships. During his research he found many instances of government organisations increasing their investment in sport but needing some hard facts to base it on. He said: "public sector investment in sport is definitely here to stay but is rapidly becoming much more complex. Outcomes are much less clear than those of brand sponsors and require sport to form true partnerships."

Quoted in the report, TSE’s Lars Haue-Pederson backs up this point as he sees public sector organisations starting to deserve more attention. Commenting on how the current bidding processes work he say: "Try to do that to a sponsor and they would walk away. Soon cities will start to walk away as well if sport does not change and understand that they need to spend as much effort selling to the public sector as they do to the private sector."

The CIES strategy programme for public sector officials will take place from 16-22 May 2010. Details are available from Marcelo Orchis on +41 32 718 3900 or registrations can be made online at www.cies.ch.

Sport and the Role of Government: Strategies for successful public private partnerships will be published in May. For details click here or email me at phil.savage@sportbusiness.com.

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