A technically-sound event is essential. Everything must be set up for an elite competition, enabling athletes to perform at their best. That will likely not be enough, however, to make the event in your city stand out from the crowd and boost the awareness and perception of your city beyond the event duration.
While the event rights-holder and organising committee will be actively communicating about the event itself, often this does not focus on the strengths of the city - and does not last beyond the event duration.
Moreover, if there are issues with the event – be it before, during or after – it is often the host city whose perception will be most affected.
It is therefore vital to get on the front foot and proactively communicate about the strengths and values of your city, both to citizens and the wider world.
Whatever the reasoning for hosting, sports events offer host cities a unique opportunity to boost messaging and shape perception for years to come. Notably, they create a way to tell and show the key attributes of your city. To your citizens. To the country. To the world.
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.
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.
The most successful host cities utilise the areas in common between their existing strategies and goals, and the key attributes of the sports events. In this way, communication is authentic, coherent, and focused on the right audiences.
The result? Telling your story in a way which directly increases awareness, appeal, and engagement –in BCW we call this the ‘sweet spot’.
Whatever the reasoning for hosting, sports events offer host cities a unique opportunity to tell their story, and shape perception for years to come – but it all begins with the decision of the host city to get on the front foot and communicate proactively.
Time for host cities to – fully – get in the game!