As we celebrate our partnership with Host City 2019, we look forward to sharing with those attending the conference our insights into the broader impacts that the public, private and third sectors are seeking, achieving, measuring and communicating from hosting some of the world’s largest and highest profile events.
Through our extensive work with rights holders and hosts, running procurement processes, negotiating optimum commercial deals, leading event bids and advising hosts on how to build a tailored event calendar, we have developed unique insights and carried out in-depth research into how to improve host partnerships that work for all stakeholders. That is to say, partnerships where host, rights holder and all other stakeholders are able to achieve their short and long-term objectives through a well-delivered event.
We have also witnessed first-hand how the major events landscape is changing as rights holders embrace new technologies and consumer trends whilst hosts seek events that speak to wider city and national priorities. This is impacting the way that hosts are evaluating opportunities and measuring impact.
At Host City 2019, we will share more about how we will be building on this insight as we utilise The Sports Consultancy’s extensive network of hosts and rights holders to research current and future trends in event hosting. This research will bring together data in a new way to benefit rights holders and hosts in their future hosting relationships.
We have gathered and analysed the data on how global trends are affecting the major events industry. Urbanisation and demographic shifts, ageing populations and increasing inequality are affecting the design and content of cities as governments prioritise inclusion and welfare. Global talent is more mobile, meaning that cities are competing to attract and retain it. Attracting new businesses and inward investment are increasingly important in a competitive and connected international marketplace. Climate change is a growing concern resulting in a rising focus on sustainability, as well as an increased scrutiny on public spending. Technology is also a significant factor in how cities are changing, working towards being ‘smarter’ and demonstrating their innovation credentials.
All of these macro trends are impacting the initiatives that governments choose to invest in and how they seek to use events to benefit their economies and populations. We are seeing a shift in objectives as event investment is less outward focused and gradually more targeted towards providing for existing citizens. This means a reduced focus on tourism and visitation and more of a focus on social impact, community cohesion and building a city with a great quality of life.
However, economic impact is still the primary measure of success in many cases (for the time being at least) as new priorities are not supported by our ability across the industry to measure social impact in a way that can justify substantial public sector expenditure. Developing effective measurement approaches for social and community impacts is a priority for hosts. A number of rights holders have recognised this and are investing in detailed social impact studies of their largest events, along with measuring economic and media impacts. We will share further insights into impact measurement in Glasgow in November.
Further trends specific to the sports and entertainment industries are impacting rights holders. This is affecting the events that they are taking to market and how those events are positioned to engage and entertain the public.
Consumers are following more sports less avidly and sports events compete with an array of leisure and entertainment properties and activities. Digital media is an increasingly popular form of consumption of events, competing even with live attendance. More niche events and sports have a new avenue to market through over-the-top (OTT) coverage. Whilst this may lead to reduced live audiences it provides more opportunities to reach a younger audience. However, content demand is changing and events have to be creative in how they build awareness and generate engagement.
Finding the right hosts
For rights holders, finding the right hosts that understand their ambitions and can enhance their offering as aligned partners, is increasingly important. Rights holders are being more targeted geographically, but are also becoming more open to changing their hosting models to ensure the benefits are there for hosts and to open up their events to new territories and emerging markets. Our host procurement processes are incorporating new approaches to allow flexibility and build the most effective partnerships, while protecting interests on both sides of the hosting relationship.
This is balanced by a need to ensure that premium events are contributing to rights holder finances, particularly for International Federations where flagship events can support the organisation for multiple years. This may need to be accompanied in future with a greater appetite from the rights holder to share risk and, therefore, reward.
We look forward to sharing further insight in the build up to Host City 2019 and offering those attending the conference, unique insights from our work and research, into the ever-evolving relationship between rights holders and host cities and the solutions we are creating and applying for our clients. We also look forward to learning more from hosts and rights holders about their evolving challenges and the solutions they are employing to combat them.