Ten years ago this month I started working on the inaugural Ultimate Sports Cities rankings. I came up with the concept after noticing there was nothing in the industry at that time which compared the prowess of one sporting city with another in terms of major event hosting and expertise. Coming up with a system of benchmarking the likes of Melbourne and London against Singapore and Istanbul across a range of criteria such as event calendar, venues and transportation – and even weather – I hoped would give all cities globally something to aspire to be part of and enable them to learn from one another.
What started off as rankings and case studies has subsequently evolved into a much wider analysis which now culminates in an awards ceremony every two years at the SportAccord Convention thanks to the support of SportBusiness which I sold Ultimate Sports Cities to in 2008. This year we even launched a successful spin-off Ultimate Sports Federation rankings and awards to take place on the years in between Ultimate Sports Cities.
I have continued as head judge ever since SportBusiness took ownership of Ultimate Sports Cities and am delighted to announce my involvement again in the 2016 edition which will mark the 10 year anniversary and involve a special award for the city that has had the most impact globally on the major events stage in the last decade. Certainly the industry has changed over the last 10 years and cities are having to work even harder to stand out from the crowd and at the same time meet their own objectives.
We will formally start the process for the 2016 awards and rankings at the City Events conference in Paris on 17-18 November 2015 with a special discussion with Iain Edmondson, Head of Major Events, London & Partners on what makes a city stand out in these rankings and on the global sports stage (London is the incumbent Ultimate Sports City). The conference will also feature a range of keynotes and roundtables on subjects that are the focus of attention in the industry including whether major events create economic returns and the impact that the IOC’s Agenda 2020 will have on Olympic host cities. We look forward to seeing you there.