It’s no secret that elite-level sporting events do more for host cities than simply allowing residents the chance to witness star names in action.
Paris and Los Angeles were recently confirmed as the destinations for the Olympics in 2024 and 2028, neither seemingly put-off by the costs and negative media coverage that marred the Rio Games last year.
While Glasgow may be unlikely to ever bid for the Olympics, the city has become adept at hosting other prestige competitions. In exactly 12 months’ time, it will co-host the inaugural European Championships with Berlin. The German capital will stage athletics while Scotland welcomes more than 3,000 competitors in aquatics, gymnastics, cycling, golf, rowing and triathlon from August 2-12, 2018.
It follows the success of the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2015 World Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow. The former contributed more than £740 million gross to the Scottish economy over the eight years from winning the bid to hosting the event.
It also supported on average 2,100 jobs each year from 2007 and 2014, including 1,200 on average in Glasgow, the report found. The event attracted around 690,000 unique visitors, whose spending contributed, in net terms, around £73 million to the economy in 2014.
Around 70 per cent of contracts awarded by major sport events go to local companies, with infrastructure being the most valuable. But, as a briefing paper by Scottish Enterprise spells out, the range of businesses that are required to deliver these events include construction, food and drink, technology and IT, energy, transportation and logistics.
“Following on from the 2014 Commonwealth Games, we can expect Glasgow to put on a tremendous show,” Aileen Campbell, minister for public health and sport, told The Scotsman. “We have the expertise and talent in the city to host these big events.
“The European Championships is a new concept. It’s bringing together these sports to make much more of an impact in the sporting calendar in terms of viewing figures and public interest. Alongside that, we can expect a lot of domestic interest.
The minister added: “There’s a collaboration with other local authorities in the same way as we saw during the Commonwealth Games. Events will be taking place across the country.
“Events like this are hugely important to our economy. In terms of attracting visitors, the business opportunities they create, and the global attention they bring through television coverage.
“Glasgow is well placed to host major events like this. We already have the Emirates Arena and the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome and we’re continually striving to improve facilities. We’re about to open Scotland’s first dedicated para-sports centre in Largs, so there’s lots to be proud of. There’s still challenges ahead but we have to remind ourselves we haven the expertise and talent here already to put on good shows.”
The European Championships will not be confined to Glasgow. A new golf team championship will be staged at the Gleneagles PGA Centenary Course. Diving events will be held at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh while the European Aquatic Championships take place at Tollcross international swimming centre in Glasgow. Strathclyde Country Park in North Lanarkshire will stage the rowing and triathlon races.
For newly installed council leader Susan Aitken, the European Championships is an opportunity to encourage more visitors to the city. “It’s an opportunity to recreate what we did during the Commonwealth Games,” she said. “We are expecting 50,000 to visit. When they are here, they experience the city and become part of it.
She added: “It places Glasgow where it needs to be - working towards being a world-class city on the same level as our partner in this event, Berlin.”