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London crowned as SportBusiness’ 2012 Ultimate Sports City

London topped the table with 491 points, 10 more than Melbourne, which finished in second place according to the industry analysis of global sports cities. Compiled by SportBusiness Group, the analysis sought to determine which city in the world is the ‘Ultimate Sports City’ in terms of hosting a sports event.

While Melbourne has slipped in the rankings, Australia’s prowess in the major events marketplace is strengthened by Sydney moving up into third position with 421 points after finishing in fifth place in 2010. New York climbed from 10th position in 2010 to fourth this year with 406 points, closely followed by Manchester in fifth place with 398 points, up from seventh in 2010. Singapore dropped from second in 2010 to sixth this year, but remains the best sports city in Asia. Berlin takes up seventh place after finishing fourth in 2010, followed by wild card Copenhagen in eighth position. Glasgow climbs two places from 11th in 2010 to ninth this time around, with France’s capital city Paris making up the top 10.

To reflect the number of smaller cities aspiring to host major sports events, SportBusiness once again used size bands enabling awards to be made to cities with populations of one million or below, between one million and three million, between three million and six million and finally, six million or above. New York is not only the best sports city in the Americas, but also wins the XL category when looking at cities based on their populations. Melbourne is the best sports city in the large category, with Copenhagen winning the medium category and Manchester winning the small category. Twenty-five cities made the initial cut based on their history of hosting sports events and were then interviewed and ranked by SportBusiness consultant Rachael Church-Sanders and a panel of industry judges using a range of criteria.

Speaking about the results that were announced at the SportAccord Convention in Quebec City on Tuesday, head judge Church-Sanders said: “It is fitting that England’s capital city London has triumphed in its Olympic year to win the award of SportBusiness’ Ultimate Sports City for the first time, despite stiff competition from Melbourne and Sydney in particular. London also ranked highly in the category awards, coming first for both Hosting and Public Sports Interest/Tourism and came second in a further four categories and third in three, showing its capabilities as an all-rounder. London is consistently heralded as the perfect inspirational and iconic stage to host major events – largely due to the city’s passion for sport, excellent transport links and its ability to draw huge international global press and media audiences. Regular annual events such as Wimbledon, the FA Cup final and the London Marathon have captured the imagination of the world for years and make London a worthy winner of this award.”

The full results will be published in June’s Ultimate Sports Cities 2012 Report, along with case studies on the shortlisted cities in addition to some interesting cities that just failed to make the cut, namely Baku, Calgary, Denver and Gold Coast. A summary of the results will also be available in the June issue of SportBusiness International.