What lessons can prospective host cities learn from Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games?
When CGF President Prince Imran declared this year’s Glasgow’s Games ‘the best ever’ he knew that such statements play well with the home crowd and set a challenge for the next hosts.
Glasgow’s Games were a triumph for the City, for Scotland and for the Commonwealth Games itself after difficulties in Delhi last time. The Games ticked all the boxes for the host city and nation and for millions of spectators who packed stadia and arenas and lined the routes of cycling, marathon and triathlon events. Glasgow staged the Games wisely and well. Its smart use of existing venues and careful legacy planning for new facilities is an example for others. The venues looked great, the atmosphere was outstanding and there were some great performances and stories to be enjoyed.
But the impression I took from the Glasgow Games is that the impact and benefits were strictly local. It seems most in the UK were oblivious despite massive media and TV coverage. So why did the Games fail to register and does it matter?
The good news is that Glasgow showed other cities around the world exactly what can be achieved by hosting specialist multi-sports event. The success of hosting is measured by the way the city achieves specific objectives. The Commonwealth Games is never going to deliver the global awareness and impact of the Olympics but that was never the plan. The Games achieved what they set out to and did it within the set budget. The sports, media, commercial and municipal communities need to develop new approaches to hosting events and Glasgow has proved there’s tremendous value for those who get it right.