Host city momentum

An observation on the strategic direction host nations take to generation lasting momentum from events.

21st May 2019

For countries who want to host major events they have to think ahead well into the future. An eager spectator hoping to get tickets for an event 6 months away may seem a long time for them but in order to have these events that attract interest could involve years of strategic development. Host city planning takes many years of preparation to put bids together and obtain money from the government. If they have this support then it becomes even more important to justify decisions and establish a good case be the host, not only to create economic benefits and generate profits but to also give momentum to that city/country for the image it wants to create for itself.

This insight has come after my observations over the last couple of weeks, and could of been a well planned and executed strategy to provide a platform for regeneration, sporting engagement and to encourage tourism for that country. I am not stating this is actually what happened, I just find it fascinating how things can come together like this and provide a good legacy platform.

The country I am referring to is the Netherlands. I know there has been interest to secure events by this country for a while, as previously they were looking to host an edition of the European Games. Up until now and from a general outside view, nothing standout had happened there. Recently they were awarded the Invictus Games in 2020 and is such a great event and scale to build upon going forward and providing the momentum to showcase what this host country can achieve. They are also part of the Euro 2020 hosting three group matches and one round 16 match.

It was only in the recent week or so that I started to see a pattern when it was also announced that Formula 1 will be returning to the Netherlands after 35 years. 2020 is starting to look very busy for them!

The bookies favourite and eventual winner of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest was also the Netherlands with a song that already had an international following with multi-million views on Youtube. Was this a clever strategy by the Netherlands to have an already strong song for the best chance to win the contest and adding to its impressive event portfolio for 2020 or just coincidence they managed to win?

Regardless of knowing the correct answer to that question, the Netherlands has built momentum for itself in 2020 by having so many big events with a strong following. It now has the potential to use these as a platform to showcase the country and attract international interest socially, economically and politically which can hopefully provide lasting benefits.

Many hosts nations are looking to achieve this and it is only by looking further ahead to the next event cycle, or even the one after that, or for some instances beyond that to acquire events and create a strategic direction. Despite the many years of planning events can finish quite quickly and the thoughts can also quickly change to the next event around the corner, so having just the one is not as good as having more that sustains those benefits over a longer period. It seems like 2020 is the Netherlands time and it will be interesting to see how the events are delivered but also thinking of the wider aspects for the country and how they benefit from the momentum they generate.