The Future of
Bidding and Hosting


An increasing variety of cities are winning bids to host sporting events of contrasting sizes.

In an online webinar staged by SportAccord Convention in collaboration with Media Partner SportBusiness International before this year’s Convention in Belek/Antalya, three experts discussed exactly what defines an Ultimate Sports City.

Hazem Galal, a Partner at PwC, TSE Consulting Managing Director, Lars Haue-Pedersen, and Teneo Strategy Managing Director, Terrence Burns, participated in the webinar, entitled 'The future of hosting and bidding strategies' and moderated by SportBusiness International Deputy Editor, Owen Evans.

Azad Rahimov

Hazem has worked with a number of cities that have hosted major events. He kicked off the webinar by suggesting that although the economic impact of an event should be taken into account when deciding whether to bid, the public should also consider the wider implications and benefits of hosting an event.

“Thinking about what the Olympics could potentially do for Rio de Janeiro and what the World Cup could do for other Brazilian cities, it is difficult to quantify the economic and social impact,” Galal said.

“When Rio first looked at using the Maracana Stadium to host the World Cup Final, the stadium was surrounded by drug dealers and there was no way to host such a final in those circumstances.

“Two years ago the city started a large push to improve security. This has helped the city to become more attractive, not only as a sporting destination, but also to foreign investment.

“The London 2012 Olympic Games is another example. A lot of people only warmed to the Games when they started.

“If you look at the overall impact, you have to consider the plans of the area where the Olympic Park is and think of the long-term impact.

“The area bridges the gap between east and west London, and the Olympics was just a milestone in what is a long-term process that is yet to reach its full potential.”

Azad Rahimov

Lars was similarly realistic about the impact of sports events, adding that it is important to consider how the event could boost the brand of a city, region or country in the long term, rather than focus solely on cost.

“It is all about change and an event can help to communicate this,” Haue-Pedersen said.

“It is linked to the period before, during and after the event, having plenty of media coverage and using the event as a stage to show if you can communicate and demonstrate brand value about the place. This can be a very effective tool.

“However, there are two different types of branding that should be considered.

“For example, the London 2012 Olympic Games did nothing to change the brand of the city or how others see it, but it changed a lot internally and how people looked upon themselves. This should be a key argument for cities hoping to host events.

“If the public cannot understand why they should host an event, then the bid committee cannot explain it either. They need to communicate properly from the city’s and population’s point of view, and consider how an event could improve their daily life in the long term.”

Azad Rahimov

Terrence was just as keen to stress how important it is to get the local population on side. He insisted that if you are unable to demonstrate how hosting an event can help people, then you have no hope of winning a bid.

“People tend to be more negative in the West about the cost of events in terms of who will pay for it and how it will affect them,” Burns said.

“If you can’t get the local population on side, they don’t care what is in it for the Olympic Movement or the nation.

“It is critical for Federations to have a role in the bidding and hosting, as the process has become so big, complex and costly.

“They cannot leave it to an organising committee to carry out communications – they have to give the committees the tools to get the message across to the people.”