London wins Ultimate Sports City title

The UK’s capital city London has triumphed in its Olympic year over Australian city Melbourne, relieving the latter of the title of SportBusiness’ Ultimate Sports City which it had held since 2006.

Australia’s prowess in the major events marketplace is strengthened by Sydney moving up into 3rd position with 421 points after finishing in 5th place in 2010. New York climbed from 10th position in 2010 to 4th this year with 406 points, closely followed by Manchester in 5th place with 398 points, up from 7th in 2010.

Singapore dropped from 2nd place in 2010 to 6th this year but remains the best sports city in Asia. Berlin takes up 7th place (4th in 2010), followed by wild card Copenhagen in an admirable 8th place. Glasgow climbs two places from 11th in 2010 to 9th this time around, with France’s capital city Paris making up the top 10 (falling one place from 9th in 2010).

To reflect the number of smaller cities aspiring to host major sports events, SportBusiness once again used size bands enabling awards to be made to cities with populations of 1m or below, between 1m and 3m, between 3m and 6m and finally, 6m or above.

New York is not only the best sports city in the Americas, but also wins the XL category when looking at cities based on their populations. Melbourne is ranked the top large sports city in the world, with Copenhagen winning the Medium category and Manchester winning the Small category.

Twenty-five cities made the initial cut based on their history of hosting sports events (including some wild card entrants). These were then interviewed and ranked by SportBusiness consultant Rachael Church-Sanders and a panel of industry judges using a range of criteria including the number of annual sports events held, major events held or won between 2008 and 2016, numbers of federations hosted, the calibre of events currently being bid for, facilities/venues, transport, accommodation, government support, security, legacy, public sports interest, quality of life, marketing and (new for 2012) use of social media.

Speaking about the results that were announced at the SportAccord Convention in Quebec City on 22nd May, lead judge Rachael Church-Sanders said: “It is fitting that England’s capital city London has triumphed in its Olympic year to win the award of SportBusiness’ Ultimate Sports City for the first time, despite stiff competition from Melbourne and Sydney in particular. London also ranked highly in the individual criteria, coming first for both Hosting and Public Sports Interest/Tourism. It was second in a further four categories and third in three, showing its capabilities as an all-rounder. London is consistently heralded as the perfect inspirational and iconic stage to host major events – largely due to the city’s passion for sport, excellent transport links and ability to draw huge international global press and media audiences. Regular annual events such as Wimbledon, the FA Cup Final and the London Marathon have captured the imagination of the world for years and make London a worthy winner of this award.”

Speaking about the runner up, Church-Sanders added: “Previously the Ultimate Sports City in 2006, 2008 and 2010, although Australia’s Melbourne has dropped to second place, it remains the best sports city in the whole of the Southern Hemisphere and has taken first place in the ‘Large’ cities categories of the awards. In terms of category awards, Melbourne is the best for Hosting events and has the best Event Strategy in the world. The city finished in the top 10 of all the categories awarded, apart from one.”

“Hosting a major event such as the Olympic Games is not always a prerequisite for success,” she concluded regarding the awards in general. “This year’s awards show that smaller cities are catching up with their larger competitors quickly. Learning from their city peers, they are establishing a major events strategy encompassing regular annual events in addition to the one-off crown jewel events which are key to becoming a SportBusiness Ultimate Sports City in the future.”

The full results will be published in the Ultimate Sports Cities 2012 Report during June 2012 along with case studies on the shortlisted cities in addition to some interesting cities that just failed to make the cut, namely Baku, Calgary, Denver and Gold Coast. A summary of the results will also be available in the July 2012 issue of SportBusiness International.


Ultimate Sports City 2012 Final Rankings and Points

1. London 491
2. Melbourne 481
3. Sydney 421
4. New York 406
5. Manchester 398
6. Singapore 393
7. Berlin 370
8. Copenhagen 353
9. Glasgow 344
10. Paris 337
11. Tokyo 307
12. Vancouver 293
13. Istanbul 258
14. Dubai 257
15. Madrid 256
16. Amsterdam 253
17. Doha 240
18. Budapest 214
19. Moscow 213
20. Kuala Lumpur 192
21. PyeongChang 155
22. Rio de Janeiro 151
23. Buenos Aires 131
24. Sochi 121
25. Durban 105

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