Hosting major global sporting events serves as catalyst to improve national economic competitiveness
Events such as the Olympics and FIFA World Cup are appealing to emerging markets as a way to build global recognition and influence
New York, 16 February 2010—Hosting major sporting and entertainment events, such as the Olympic and Paralympic Games, FIFA World Cup, and World’s Fair, is becoming increasingly attractive to emerging markets. Historically pursued by developed nations around the world, such events can elevate the host country or city’s global stature and accelerate its economic, political, and social development, according to the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (DTT) report “A Lasting Legacy: How major events can drive positive change for host communities and economies,” published during the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
“Emerging countries and cities are seeking to distinguish themselves in the new economy by hosting major events to put themselves front and center on the global stage,” said Greg Pellegrino, DTT, Global Public Sector Industry Leader, and co-author of the report. “The rigid deadlines, political champions, and community support accelerate development and expedite change that normally takes decades. Major events can boost tourism, improve infrastructure, and provide an opportunity to elevate the host’s stature among the top global brands in the Fortune 500.”
The report shows that hosting a global event is becoming a top agenda item for governments around the world because it allows a city or country to move quickly and decisively on a wide range of issues and activities that would normally be mired in long debates and bureaucracy. And, with a global audience watching, the event host is encouraged to deliver a high-caliber service.
More collaboration between public/private sector
In addition to the economic and social development, putting on a global event also produces fringe benefits that can be transformational in the long term, according to the report. It fosters collaboration among the public sector, private sector, and community; it breaks down barriers between political parties, as well as various levels of government (national, regional and local); it improves government efficiency and sets an example for new ideas and behaviors such as environmental sustainability, diversity, and community involvement.
For example, to help realize the goal of staging the “greenest Olympics ever,” the organizers of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver asked people who plan to travel to the games to purchase carbon offsets for the estimated 268,000 tons of emissions the games will produce. Almost half of that carbon footprint will be generated by Olympics spectators travelling to Vancouver.
The report also shows that an event legacy begins from the moment the bid to host the event is created, not when the closing ceremony ends.
“All these benefits hinge on the host’s ability to plan and execute effectively at every stage of the event lifecycle, from pre-bid to postevent legacy,” said Heather Hancock, Managing Partner, Innovation and Brand and Lead Client Service Partner for Olympic Services, Deloitte United Kingdom, and co-author of the report. “It is critical to raise aspirations beyond the event itself. For example, one of the primary goals for London in hosting the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics Games is to use the games to support and accelerate the development of a new eastern economic center to anchor the city’s continuing expansion.”
As major events grow in economic influence, more cities and countries want to host them. Organizations like the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) are interested in expanding their global reach by holding events in emerging countries. Accordingly, the heightened competition in winning the bid risks creating a spiral of increasingly ambitious plans and claims from aspiring hosts, particularly emerging cities and countries that feel a stronger need to impress the selection committees.
More investment on security
The report also shows that security is rapidly becoming a more and more relevant issue in evaluating bids to host events. Growing in visibility, these events have become targets for disruptive forces. The range of security threats has expanded to include large-scale bombings, global pandemics, biological weapons, and cyber attacks, and host countries and cities must increase their investments in security measures.
“A critical role for the government is keeping people safe,” said Pellegrino. “Aspiring hosts need to do what is necessary to address these challenges. With time, money, and effort, overall security can have a positive and lasting impact on the athletes, spectators, international organizations, and the host itself long after the event finishes.”
To read the full report, visit www.deloitte.com/lastinglegacy.
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