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150 cities enter Ultimate Sport Cities race

Those readers with a sharp memory may recall that the process for the 2016 SportBusiness Ultimate Sports Cities awards and rankings was to have been formally kicked off at the City Events conference in Paris on 17 November 2015 with a special on-stage discussion with current Ultimate Sports City of London’s representative Iain Edmondson, Head of Major Events at London & Partners.

I was due to ask him what makes a city such as London stand out in these rankings and on the global sports stage and he had planned to highlight three areas where the city has excelled – partnerships (across public and private sectors), technical expertise (across expenditure and income areas) and political support (where the city has created and built momentum). The importance of creating home grown events was also to have been discussed using the successful Ride London as a case study.

However, the tragic events of Friday 13 November in Paris meant that the organisers of City Events had to make the difficult decision to postpone the conference until 14-15 March 2016 following advice from the French government and in order to respect the period of national mourning that followed the acts of terrorism that blighted the city.

According to the City Events 2015 organisers, between 300 and 400 participants had been expected to attend the event from all five continents (representing almost 30 nationalities). “Under the same theme ‘When Sports inspire society’, the rearranged City Events will more than ever commit to question social responsibility in sporting events. Beyond the much-debated issue of material heritage, sports and sporting events must act as a catalyst to nurture ideas, foster investment, and influence society to make it a safer, healthier, more confident and respectful place,” said a City Events spokesperson. “We have received numerous messages of support and most of you had even confirmed their participation in the 2016 event. We would like to thank you for such support and commitment to defend values of peace, fraternity, and universality, inspired by sports and all major sports events in the world.”

SportBusiness will continue to support City Events throughout 2016 and would like to take this opportunity to offer our sympathies to our friends at City Events and of course to everyone affected by the atrocities inflicted on Paris.

Meanwhile, a field of 150 cities are set to enter the fray to be crowned the SportBusiness Ultimate Sports City of 2016 based on the prowess of their major events calendars between 2012 and 2020.

Over half of these cities are from Europe, highlighting the dominance of the continent when it comes to hosting the world’s leading sports events, although this number has decreased slightly since the last awards two years ago (which measured the period 2010 to 2018) from 56 per cent to 52 per cent.

Twenty-one per cent of the contenders are from the Asia-Pacific region (down from 22 per cent at the time of the 2014 awards) and there has been an increase in major events being awarded to cities in North America (up to 14 per cent from nine per cent). South America has seen an increase from hosting five per cent of the world’s leading major events between 2010 and 2018 to seven per cent at present. Meanwhile Africa’s share of the major events pie has fallen from seven per cent when the awards and rankings were last held to six per cent in the current period of analysis.

Over the coming weeks, the 150 cities will be shortlisted to 30 based on a further analysis of their major events calendars although, as in previous editions, that number will also include five wildcards that will be selected by our esteemed panel of external expert judges as being worthy of inclusion. The 30 cities that make the cut for the exciting 10 year anniversary edition of the SportBusiness Ultimate Sports Cities awards and rankings will be announced in early January 2016 with the overall winner and category winners set to be announced at the SportAccord Convention in April 2016.

For the first time since the awards were launched in 2006, the shortlisted cities will be invited to upload their submissions using specialist cloud-based software developed by SportBusiness Group’s measurement evaluation partner PerforMind™.

PerforMind™ enables any sports host – whether it be a city, regional authority or tourist board – to better manage proposals received by rights holders and evaluate events after they have happened, ranking an event's key performance indicators against a host's own internal return-on-objective criteria.

Speaking about PerforMind™’s role in the SportBusiness Ultimate Sports Cities rankings and awards for 2016, head judge Rachael Church says: “We are delighted to be able to use Ultimate Sports Cities as an opportunity to showcase what PerforMind™ can do to enhance major event planning for sports cities. Our shortlisted contenders and external judges alike will find that using this tool will streamline the submission and rankings processes more efficiently.”

For more information on the SportBusiness Ultimate Sports Cities 2016 awards and rankings or to arrange a demonstration of PerforMind™, please contact David Hunt (david.hunt@sportbusiness.com).

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