Glasgow Best Ever

With the Commonwealth flag presented to officials from Australia’s Gold Coast at the end of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the baton was formally passed to the next hosts and Glasgow – which finished in eighth place in the 2014 SportBusiness Ultimate Sports City rankings, up one place from the previous edition in 2012 - was able to bask in the glow of being dubbed host city of ‘ the best Commonwealth Games ever’ thanks to HRH Prince William among others.

Before the event even started, the indications were there that Glasgow was going to throw a terrific party. I was fortunate to have been invited to view some of the main venues a couple of weeks prior to the Games (I like to think of my visit as a dress rehearsal for the Queen who was due to do the same exactly 24 hours later) and was impressed at both the attention to detail among the venue operations staff and the enthusiasm for the event exuded by everyone I spoke to. ‘People Make Glasgow’ posters festooned my journey into the city centre in a pink version of the Wizard of Oz’s Yellow Brick Road with all roads this time seemingly leading to the stunning Emirates Arena, linked to the equally impressive Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. More than £300 million of investment has taken place in Glasgow’s sports venues over the past 25 years and it certainly shows.

Legacy and sustainability are words bandied around the corridors and playing fields of the sports industry more often than ‘make mine a large glass of white’ these days but very few events can boast a tangible positive change before they have taken place. Well Glasgow can. Memberships of health and fitness clubs in the city have risen since 2009 by 70%. Individual sports that featured in the Games have also seen participation levels rise in Glasgow and Scotland – netball being a prime example with numbers boosted by 25%. Meanwhile, the number of qualified sports coaches has doubled. And over 5,000 apprenticeships were created by local businesses relating to the Games - and the list goes on.

It was always Glasgow’s vision that the Commonwealth Games would leave a lasting legacy and the city should be proud that some of those legacies are evident already. It was the city’s ambition that after 2014 it would have a more:

• Prosperous Glasgow

• Active Glasgow

• Inclusive Glasgow

• Accessible Glasgow

• Green Glasgow

• International Glasgow

These six themes form the basis of Glasgow’s Legacy Framework.  Developed following a series of public consultation exercises undertaken during 2008 and 2009, Glasgow’s Legacy Framework reflects the hopes and aspirations of Glasgow's communities, its strategic partners and other stakeholders.

With the Commonwealth Games sometimes dismissed as being an outmoded event (usually by countries that aren’t in the Commonwealth and often by ones that don’t want to be in it), Glasgow was determined to use the event to showcase the best of its venues and city. And didn’t it do well. Blessed with some exceptionally hot weather (but peppered with a good old torrential storm or two to keep things real), Glasgow was by all accounts packed to the rafters with fans eager to witness their sporting heroes in action against some impressive backdrops.

In its 2014 SportBusiness Ultimate Sports City final submission file, Glasgow described itself as a “city passionate about sport”. The submission continued: “The city has a strong track record in contributing to world sport through the staging of so many major events to high standards, while engaging with its citizens through an integrated legacy framework. Glasgow’s submission for the title of Ultimate Sports City of 2014 is based on all of these factors: a sports city within a sports nation, with outstanding participation, passion and provision for sport at all levels.”

Glasgow 2014 now may be consigned to Commonwealth Games history already, but this is certainly one city that will not be resting on its laurels. Some say that Glasgow’s journey started in 2007 when it was awarded this event. But even if that is the case, there is still plenty to come and Glasgow won’t be forgotten. Kylie Minogue certainly got it right at the Closing Ceremony when she sang ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’…………

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