Federations plan association to take over European Championships
By Callum Murray
The European sports federations that participated in this summer’s inaugural multi-sports European Championships in Glasgow and Berlin are looking to create an association to take over ownership of the championships from European Championships Management, the private company that initiated it, following a debrief meeting of stakeholders last week.
Sportcal understands that, after the success of the inaugural edition in August, the federations have taken the view that it is no longer appropriate for the championships to be run by a private company and have proposed creating an association which would also include the European Broadcasting Union, the umbrella body of public-service broadcasters which was an early and enthusiastic supporter of the concept.
The European Championships were conceived by Paul Bristow and Marc Jörg, former collaborators on the development of European soccer’s Uefa Champions League, who then created the London-based ECM to develop and realise the concept.
Bristow and Jörg had long been aware that, uniquely in Europe there was no regular continental multi-sport games, to compare with the likes of the Asian Games, Pan American Games or African Games, albeit the situation has since changed with the launch of the European Olympic Committees’ European Games.
Bristow today declined to comment on the latest talks.
In April, Bristow told Sportcal Insight: “We saw a gap in the marketplace: no multi-sports event in Europe. Every other continent has a successful games. That was the starting point of our curiosity, and the main driver for why we started.”
The promotional pitch that Bristow and Jörg delivered, as they strove to persuade federations used to staging their own events to sign up to the multi-sports concept, was ‘the power of aggregation’: the concept that by branding, packaging and bringing the sports together, “the whole would be greater than the sum of the parts.”
This summer’s inaugural European Championships in Berlin and Glasgow combined and aggregated the existing European Championships of athletics, aquatics, cycling, gymnastics, rowing, triathlon and a new golf team championships. The athletics competition was held in Berlin from 7 to 12 August (thanks to a hosting deal that had already been agreed), and the remaining sports staged in Glasgow (and the surrounding area) from 2 to 12 August.
It is understood that several cities and regions have expressed interest in hosting forthcoming editions of the quadrennial championships.
The cities are likely to have been encouraged by the experience of this year’s host cities, with Billy Garrett, head of sport at Glasgow Life, the charity that delivers cultural, sporting and learning activities on behalf of Glasgow City Council, having told Sportcal in August that, with a budget of £90 million ($116.5 million), hosting the championships was good value, compared with, for example, the Commonwealth Games which the city hosted in 2014 (£90 million represented about 20 per cent of the Glasgow 2014 budget, he said).
Asked in August what the chances were of finding a single city to host the 2022 edition, Bristow said: “Some are interested, but there’s also interest from other candidates, where it’s more of a joint hosting between different centres. There are advantages and disadvantages to a single city. We don’t want to make it a precondition because it narrows the options.”
Interest is high, Bristow said, because staging standalone
European Championships for a single sport is “a challenge for the cities. It’s
good but it doesn’t really move the needle. They’re not big enough to get a
return on investment. It’s difficult to generate publicity and promotion to get
the best out of it. [The combined event] creates volume - the city can get
A review on the broadcast appeal of the 2018 European Championships can be found in the latest edition of Sportcal Insight.