HOST CITY 2015 Conference and Exhibition drew to a close in Glasgow on Tuesday following two days of open discussions exploring the challenges and benefits of bidding for and hosting major global events.
Now in its second year, Host City has firmly established itself as the leading EU-based meeting of cities and sports, business and cultural events. Under the theme ‘Creative Innovation’ HOST CITY 2015 brought together a unique collection of city leaders and cross-sector rights holders, event owners, suppliers and world class-speakers in the business of major international events.
High on the agenda on the final day of the conference was the issue of sustainability and how a multi-city approach to hosting could allow events of the future to remain viable and grow by increasing their reach.
Speaking on the UEFA EURO 2020 Championships, Stewart Regan, Chief Executive of the Scottish Football Association, host of four matches within the tournament, said: “As you can imagine it’s a huge logistical exercise - trying to plan for one country and several stadia is a big exercise but imagine doing that across 13 countries.
“Planning the security, planning the logistics of moving sponsors, fans, and broadcasters around Europe - it’s a massive exercise. But the benefits of involving 13 countries, including some of the smaller countries who couldn’t host an event on their own, outweigh the challenges that the logistics present.”
Hampden Park in Glasgow will stage three UEFA Euro 2020 group stage games and one last 16 match.
Paul Bristow, Director of European Sports Championships Management argued that a multi-city approach could have sustainability benefits for future events.
“The key word here is sustainability. We have too many white elephants,” he said.
“We can be smarter in the way that we use existing facilities but at the same time still use major events to promote investment in sustainable new facilities that cities need. And if we can combine existing facilities in cities that will work together in partnership then I think that is a sustainable model.”
Paul Dunphy, Major Events Consultant for SportBusiness Intelligence and former Manager Event Prospecting and Bidding at Auckland Tourism Events & Economic Development said: “I think it is a long-term innovative approach. We had the Cricket World Cup in New Zealand and Australia recently and when you’re a small nation with minimal resources you need to be innovative. The  Cricket World Cup was a great example of how multi-city, multi-national events are the future.”
Also under discussion was the critical question of how transport and security strategies contribute to the success of bidding for and hosting major events, including creating positive post-event legacies for cities. Malcolm Tarbitt, Executive Director – Safety and Security for the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS), said: “Major sporting events are short-term initiatives that have major long-term impact and they pose a tremendous challenge to host nations in terms of their image, sovereignty and integrity.
“In the past few years the cost of hosting major sporting events has increased astoundingly, including cost of security strategies and operations plans. The threat landscape is ever changing, ever evolving and the responsibility on bidding nations and organising committees is becoming ever greater to determine, manage and defend their security plans and budgets. To mitigate this you need to involve security upfront, as early as possible and apply a holistic and integrated approach to planning.”
Other leading speakers across the two-day conference included: Sir Craig Reedie CBE, Vice President, International Olympic Committee; Louise Martin CBE, President, Commonwealth Games Federation; David Grevemberg CBE, CEO, Commonwealth Games Federation; Brian Cookson OBE, President of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI); Sarah Lewis, Secretary General of the International Ski Federation (FIS) and the Association of International Winter Sports Federations; Alexander Koch, Corporate Communications Manager for FIFA; Hidetoshi Fujisawa, Executive Director of Communication and Engagement, Tokyo 2020; Simon Clegg CBE, former COO, Baku 2015 European Games; and Ali Russell, Director of Media and Strategic Partnerships, Formula E.