City Events 2012: Bidding to Host a Sport Event is Not Only a ‘technical’ Beauty Contest

November 29, 2012


LAUSANNE, Switzerland – On 14-16 November 2012, cities gathered with International Sport Federations and sport events stakeholders in Lausanne, the Olympic Capital. 

Over 235 participants and 20 journalists from 42 different nationalities gathered to discuss about ways to implement winning bids to host international sporting events. Under the theme “Preparing to bid and bidding to win”, the international conference City Events was a success in sharing experiences and ideas, through debates and networking opportunities, thanks to top level speakers and a high quality audience!

Bidding: a project with many challenges

From the first evening, the tone was set. Martin KALLEN (UEFA Operations Director) and Michael R. PAYNE (Former IOC Marketing Director and Special Adviser to F1’s Chairman/CEO) shared their experience and vision: “The bidding exercise to host a sport event has evolved, but does not boil down to a simple technical beauty contest”, said Michael R. PAYNE. Martin KALLEN shared the same ideas: “A mega event must be seen as an investment […] You must consider aspect both from inside and outside the event!” Michael R. PAYNE also dwelled on the case of London 2012 in his keynote speech: “You can never win against Paris if it is a technical review. You must present a vision” and London had the idea to highlight youth. A bid is first and foremost a story with its legacy and benefits to all stakeholders and local populations.

“A bid must always include an element of surprise!” Michael R. PAYNE

The second day, cities and sport events organisers shared and discussed their experiences. The City of London – which just hosted the 2012 Olympics, was represented by Iain Edmondson, (Director of Major Events, London & Partners). He unveiled an impressive strategy – “London, home of sports” – that led to the English capital to win the right to host the Olympic Games but also other major sporting events in the years to come. Alpaslan Baki Ertekin, General Manager of Spor AS, representing the City of Istanbul, explained the very active policy of Istanbul in terms of bidding for and hosting sport events, which aims to positioning the country in the heart of the geo-political exchanges. Finally, MEC Catharina Cronje, Minister of Finance of the Province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, shared her experience of the hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Bidding: preparation, but not only

The City of Manchester, host of the 2002 Commonwealth Games, the City of Kazan, host of the 2015 FINA World Championships, the City of Amsterdam, host of the 2016 European Athletics Championships, and the City of Gwangju, 2019 FINA World Championships candidate, offered great insights of their bidding experiences. Additionally, the presentation of the City of Stockholm, unsuccessful candidate to host the 2004 Olympics, completed the vision on bidding explaining how the City managed to benefit from its unsuccessful bid through a great legacy. Annika MALHOTRA, Project Manager at Stockholm Events, explained how Stockholm managed to win even if it had lost the bid: “Even if we had not convinced the IOC, we had convinced ourselves. […] We unfortunately had overlooked two things: the public support and the negative media coverage.”

“Bidding is not about spending a lot of money, but just answer questions and expectations of the Federation precisely!” Sarah Lewis, FIS General Secretary

On the first day, Martin KALLEN reminded us that bid requirements are very demanding; procedures and deadlines need to be followed strictly, but also that a good bid dossier and presentation are key to success. In other words, he explained the importance of building a strong and experienced team to engage in such projects. Markiyan LUBKIVSKIJ, Head of UEFA EURO 2012 in Ukraine detailed both the reasons for the success of his country in bidding to host the EURO 2012 and in the event itself: “Manage your time and expenses, create a scalable and transferable project that can be understood and accepted by both foreign guests and local people.”

Bidding: the view of ‘alternative’ event organisers and International Federations

On the third day, the floor was given to organisers of ‘alternative’ events such as Iron Man Series, the X-Games, and Festival International Sports Extreme (FISE), which showed a different approach for cities to host sports events.

For the ‘Grand Finale’, Sarah LEWIS (FIS General Secretary), Jens Holm (WMGA), Tom DIELEN (World Archery General Secretary), Predrag BOGOSAVLJEV (FIBA Director of Events) and Marc VANDENPLAS (FISU Director for the Summer Universiade) came on stage for a round table dedicated to the view of International Federations. It was the opportunity to clarify that they do not want to see “aggressive competitions, with the risk of impairing relations with cities that would have failed.” All have also agreed on Michael R. PAYNE’s earlier statement: “The first question to ask before embarking on a bid to host the Olympics is: Why do you want the Games?”

City Events: Toolbox and Networking

All these testimonies were supplemented by rich advices and insights from specialised agencies and academic institutions. The presentation of two new Indexes – “Sports Cities Index” from Around The Rings and TSE Consulting and the “Sportcal GSI” (Global Sports Impact), were completed by the AISTS study: “Future Event Requirements of International Sports Federations.”

One of the highlights of this international conference was undoubtedly the success of the “One-to-one meetings session” which promoted over 140 meetings between International Federations, cities, organisers and sponsors. This unique networking opportunity was later completed by the FISU reception at the Rolex Learning Center.

For its 3rd edition, City Events 2012 was a great success and we hope that cities, International Federations and key stakeholders had set the basis for future projects and events.

FISU and GL Events are looking forward to welcoming you to the 4th edition of City Events, to take place next year, on 13-15 November 2013 in Lausanne (Switzerland).

Relive the highlights of 2012 CITYevents through pictures: Click-here. 

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