“It is all about aligning the goals and objectives of the rights holders with the goals and objectives of the host city or host country,” – Maximising Host City and Host Country Benefits – A Sports Federations Perspective

Maximising Host City and Host Country Benefits – A Sports Federation Perspective


Claire Briegal, CEO, World Netball

Polly Clark, European Tour Solheim Cup Event Director, Ladies European Tour

Harold Mayne-Nicholls, CEO, Panamerican and Parapanamerican Games


Delivering major events is one of the most complex, multi-faceted undertakings in sport but it can deliver some of the most powerful benefits.


“It is all about aligning the goals and objectives of the rights holders with the goals and objectives of the host city or host country,” said the outgoing World Netball CEO Claire Briegal, encapsulating the central challenge in a panel on day two of ISC 2024.


Briegal will be retiring from her role in April after 12 years and three Netball World Cups, the most recent of which took place last year in Cape Town, South Africa. For her, protecting that mutual upside for the host and rights holder begins before the bidding stage – and it does not end until the final operational assessment is complete.


Rights holders must start with a clear sense of their own objectives, she explained, and then sell themselves into a highly competitive marketplace. For netball, that means emphasising a positive impact on women’s sport, both in terms of visibility and participation.


Golf’s Solheim Cup can make a similar pitch. Polly Clark, the European Tour Solheim Cup event director at the Ladies European Tour, said that the broadcast reach of the quadrennial US-Europe challenge has grown from event to event. The 2023 edition in Spain’s Costa del Sol was one of the most valuable female-led properties on UK pay-TV last year – and enjoyed an additional narrative boost from the rare curiosity of the men’s Ryder Cup event happening in the same month.


For organisers in Santiago, the 2023 Panamerican and Parapanamerican Games were an opportunity to tell a different story about Chile – away from political challenges and the turmoil of the Covid-19 pandemic.


Executing multi-sport events is an especially involved and expensive process – although the budget for the Games fell steeply from previous editions in Toronto and Lima. But as organising committee CEO Harold Mayne-Nichols noted, they also offer a chance to celebrate sport and local culture at the same time.


Athletes in Santiago were encouraged to take the metro rather than private buses, bringing them closer to a buzzing local community. Visiting IOC president Thomas Bach – who spoke warmly of the prospect of Olympic events in Santiago in the future – was treated to a classic Chilean lunch on his arrival. Now, Mayne-Nicholls says, the task ahead is to ensure lasting benefits for ordinary people, from well-maintained facilities to a campaign on physical activity that will tackle a national childhood obesity crisis.


For host cities, Briegel said, sport is only one part of an events and visitor economy. Every arena could be used instead for some other entertainment attraction.


World Netball has 13 key criteria by which it chooses event hosts – Cape Town was chosen over the netball stronghold of New Zealand because of the chance to grow the sport in South Africa, with the support of the national government removing any financial uncertainty. Yet rights holders must make their own financial case to their host partners and Briegel believes robust data and trustworthy communication are now non-negotiable responsibilities.


Sports bodies can also build commercial value for hosts that outlasts each event. For the Solheim Cup, the Costa del Sol represented a chance to grow interest and participation among key demographics – particularly women – in a market which already has ample golf course availability.


On top of that, a sponsorship deal for the Solheim Cup rankings – which update players and fans on who will make the European team – gave the destination four years of relevant exposure. The Costa del Sol became part of theSolheim Cup story from start to finish.