HomeBcw SportsInsightsHost city - what’s your role in the communication of an event?
Facebook iconLinkedIn iconTwitter icon

Three parties are involved in the organisation of a major sports event: the rights-holder, providing sporting oversight; the organising committee, with on-the-ground technical support; and the host city, facilitating use of infrastructure and city spaces. Each of these parties have an active role to play in communicating before, during and after the event – but all too often, the communication from the host city gets lost.

It is usually the city’s initial decision to bid to host an event, driven by high ambitions of reaching pre-determined objectives, for example enhancing local pride and cohesion, increasing tourism and business opportunities, or regenerating urban environments. However, once the bid has been won and the organisation starts, very often the host city takes a backseat when it comes to communication for their own benefit.

The events rights-holder and organising committee typically, for example, will be actively communicating about the organisation of the event – ticket sales, venue updates, the sports performance during the event, etc. While the voice of the host city is lost. But this is exactly when a city should step up to use the event to tell their own unique story – promoting the strengths of the city or talking about the impact the event has on reaching the previously set objectives.

Because, it is the city that arguably has the most to lose. If there are issues with the event – be it before, during or after – it is the host city whose brand and perception will be most affected.

Cities must therefore put their best foot forward and proactively communicate in the lead up, during and after the event. A major sport event is the time to strengthen existing communication and to find a distinct voice, separate from those of the rights-holder and organising committee – and tell a story whether it be to its own citizens, the national population, or the wider world.

Whatever the reasoning for hosting, sports events offer host cities a unique opportunity to tell their story, and shape perception for years to come. Not only are events a chance to increase the volume of what a city is already communicating, but also to tell, as well as show, what they are about in a tangible way.

So, while the rights-holder and organising committee put full focus on hosting a successful event and communicating about it – it’s the role of the host city to make sure their own distinct voice is coming through in the communication around the event.