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Becoming an Ultimate Sports City – Event Strategy | Case studies – Copenhagen


The swimming stage during the Challenge Copenhagen Triathlon in August 2011 – Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Copenhagen has a dedicated event organisation called Wonderful Copenhagen Events. The city has a strategy for attracting major events to the Greater Copenhagen region based on factors including: city branding, economic impact, national pride, volunteering, involvement, activation and environmental impact.

Bike City Copenhagen

The International Cycling Union (UCI) Bike City Copenhagen is a good example of how the city builds up for events. Copenhagen was the first city to be awarded the UCI Bike City label. The Bike City concept is designed for internationally-renowned cities wanting to get involved in cycling, by hosting elite competitions or mass participation events, and by promoting cycling as an environmentally-friendly leisure activity and means of transport.

Copenhagen has been a heavy supporter of cycling, hosting six world class events between 2008 and 2010 – the UCI Track Cycling World Cup Classics in 2008 and 2009, the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in 2008 and 2009 and two major events – the 2010 UCI Track Cycling World Championships and the 2011 UCI Road World Championships. A large number of mass participation events and other initiatives are included in its event calendar.

Speaking in 2011, then-Lord Mayor of Copenhagen Frank Jensen explains why the UCI World Championship is a good fit for his city.

Event funding

Sports events in Copenhagen are generally funded through a cooperation between local authorities the City of Copenhagen and the Capital Region of Denmark, the Danish sport event organisation Sport Event Denmark and private partners.

'Guiding phrases'

Copenhagen’s guiding phrases for events are ‘integration’, and ‘activation and involvement’. The city believes that for events to have an impact on its city and leave a strong legacy they must be integrated with the daily life of Copenhagen and they must activate Copenhageners.

Examples of how the key words are brought to life include:

Integration: Most events are staged in the centre of the city, including archery events at the canals, cycling on closed-off streets, triathlon on the city beach, swimming in the harbour, and running in all locations including the square in front of the Royal Castle.

Activation and involvement: Major events are supported by local festivals that give Copenhageners the chance to celebrate the event. The festivals are encouraged to turn into annual traditions afterwards, giving an opportunity to continue the event in the following years.


Other sections of this report

Introduction – Latest thinking and expert discussion on event strategy

Case study – Melbourne

Case study – Auckland

Case study – Calgary

Case study – London

Page-turner version of the full report


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