World Cup events: From Russia with no love to Qatar

Major sporting events present big business opportunities for the events industry but at what cost?

Major sporting events like the Olympics and the football World Cup present massive opportunities for the events industry. The potential for business is significant. Fans travel in huge numbers from all over the globe to support the countries competing at such sporting spectacles, generating massive income for the places they visit and related industries, suppliers and service providers.

Yet is it possible to make the most of major sporting events regardless of where they are held? Russia – where the recent FIFA World Cup was held and Qatar, which hosts the 2022 tournament have questionable human rights records to put it mildly. Therefore, events companies trying to live up to their moral, ethical and equality policies, must seriously question whether they would work in such countries, despite the massive business opportunities up for grabs.

The opportunities major sporting events generate for event companies

The opportunities are obvious. Major sporting events attract massive sponsors and media attention. That’s because the audiences and interest is huge and not just at the stadiums. For the recent FIFA World Cup in Russia, the BBC reported some of its largest viewing figures in the past decade for the Group Stage matches it broadcasted online and on TV alone. Over 18.3 million viewers tuned in for England’s last gasp win over Tunisia on June 18th. Away from the stadia, there will be plenty of networking and corporate events to organise and run, not to mention airport transfers, accommodation, venue finding, gala dinners and social programmes – the list goes on!

How event companies with a moral compass can make the most of major sporting events without selling their souls

At Clearwater Events, we encourage our clients to use destinations that embrace equality. We believe in using destinations that embrace the values and beliefs of equality, rather than putting delegates in destinations where their lifestyle, beliefs, gender or sexuality could be illegal or suppressed. We would therefore not look to take events to countries where racism, sexism and anti-LGBTQ policies and attitudes are rife.

If a host nation does well on the field at a major tournament or sporting event, then there are off the field opportunities for event companies closer to home. England’s unexpected and recent success at the World Cup in reaching the semi-finals, generated pop up world cup themed events and match screenings of all shapes and sizes. It required the use of events companies with experience in turning events around quickly as businesses sought to make the most of the nation’s success.

Why Birmingham 2022 presents a perfect opportunity for ethical events companies

It is also worth pointing out that not every host nation or city has the same issues as Russia and Qatar. In 2022 the Commonwealth Games are to be held in Birmingham, our home city! Sitting at the heart of the UK with excellent facilities and transport links, Birmingham epitomises the diversity of the Commonwealth.

The Games aim to: “demonstrate the very best of Global Britain to the world, showcasing the region’s strengths of: being connected and accessible; youth and inclusivity; and a focus on regeneration and rejuvenation. Birmingham is perfectly positioned to attract people to the Games and to ensure that the benefits of hosting extend from the city and region, to the UK and the Commonwealth.”

A vibrant, young and richly diverse city, Birmingham also presents ethical event companies with a moral compass to do what they do best with a clear conscious.

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