Another mega event emerged on the European sports calendar today with the announcement that Glasgow and Berlin will be hosting a new multi-sports championship in the summer of 2018.
The European federations of athletics, swimming, cycling, rowing and triathlon have decided to coordinate their European Championships into a quadrennial 10-12 day event to maximise exposure.
The 2018 European Athletics Championship will take place in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium as already planned, but it will now coincide with swimming, cycling, rowing and triathlon events in Glasgow.
“We are excited to be organising our European Championships in 2018 in Berlin in a coordinated way together with other leading sports in Glasgow,” said Hansjörg Wirz, president of European Athletics.
“Our aim is to build further on the heritage, profile and awareness of our existing prestigious European Athletic Championships.”
Glasgow will host all other sports and the Opening Ceremony, and there are plans to include golf in the event following the success of last year’s Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.
“Major events have become part of the bread and butter of our city’s economy and we can now look forward with tremendous excitement and focus to the next big thing on the Glasgow calendar,” said councillor Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council.
The new mega event will be seen as a competitor to the European Olympic Committees’ European Games, which takes place for the first time this year in Baku.
The combined championships are expected to generate more than 2,700 hours of programming and reach a live television audience of more than 850 million television viewers.
“We are delighted to be associated with this ground-breaking project that will encompass the rich diversity of European sports in a competitive event of the highest quality, which we will bring to the largest audience possible in all of Europe on a free-to air basis,” said Jean-Paul Philippot, president of the European Broadcast Union.
Paolo Barelli, president of the Ligue Européenne de Natation (swimming) said: “With the support and commitment of the major free-to-air broadcasters around the continent, the European Sports Championships will further build the prestige of becoming a champion of Europe and act as a powerful inspiration for youngsters to participate in our sports.”
The event will receive funding from the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council as it is seen as a major opportunity to boost culture, tourism and business as well as sports in the host city.
Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, said: “Last summer Scotland showed the world what a tremendous job it can do when it comes to staging major sporting events, with the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup both hugely successful.
“As part of the legacy of those events, we want to attract even more top class sport to Scotland, and the European Sports Championships is certainly in that category.
“The European Sports Championships will be another chance for Scotland to prove it’s the perfect stage for top class events. Not only will this be a fantastic opportunity for Scottish sports fans to see some of Europe’s top athletes competing in our world-class venues, it will also be attract visitors from around the continent, providing a great boost to the economy.”
Around 2900 athletes are expected to come to Scotland as part of a total delegation of around 8200 people involved in the event. A further 1500 athletes will compete in Berlin.
Swimming, involving nearly 900 athletes, will be staged at three venues with the main swimming event at Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow and the diving and synchronised swimming at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh. The open water swimming competition is to be staged at Loch Lomond.
The new event marks the first time four cycling championships – track, road race, mountain-biking and BMX – have been staged together. 650 cyclists will compete in the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, the Cathkin Braes Mountain Bike Trails, the streets of Glasgow and a new BMX track.
The world-class Strathclyde Country Park in North Lanarkshire will see 760 athletes compete in rowing and triathlon.
Hosting triathlon events will be one of the hot topics at HOST CITY 2015, with Antonio Fernandez Arimany, director general of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) to speak there again after the great success of HOST CITY Bid to Win in 2014.