POSTED: November 18th 2010
Middle Eastern sport challenge is to engage public and 'create long-term legacy'
NIKKI WICKS / Sports Features Communications
LONDON/DOHA, Nov 18: Sports bid and organising committees in the Middle East must engage the public and leave a positive lasting legacy according to hospitality specialists René Proske.
Speaking at ‘The Big Event - An Insider's Guide’ forum at the international Aspire4Sport conference in Doha, the managing director of the PROSKE group examined corporate and sponsor hospitality issues in sport and urged event bidders to think about long-term legacy rather than just a short term opportunity to showcase wealth.
“In the Middle East, they don’t have the issue of building the facilities such as beautiful stadia. The challenge is engagement,” Proske told SportsFeatures.com.
In his presentation at the Aspire4Sport conference, he added: “Winning a bid for a major international sports event should not just be about building great venues. The challenge is to make sure that a successful bid is a catalyst for lasting momentum of real change."
Proske also suggested that corporate hospitality programmes in the Middle East need to focus on attracting smaller organisations and individuals rather than worrying about large corporations.
“High price packages and programmes will not be a problem in the Middle East. The key will be for organisers to engage with the local population so that people feel part of the events and can take ownership of them. This will in turn have an impact on lower end corporate hospitality. Organising committees must have strong engagement strategies and not just undertake events as government projects,” he said.
Speaking to SportsFeatures.com, Proske also pointed out that, more and more hospitality at sporting events is taking place outside of live venues, which presents a good opportunity for engagement and a return on investments in venues.
“Hospitality nowadays doesn’t uniquely need to be in the stadia. We’ve seen hospitality even at ‘fan zones,” he said.
“In Germany, we have the Olympic Stadium in Munich – that has a hospitality area. During the World Cup in South Africa tickets were sold to watch the Germany games on a screen with full hospitality packages available.
“For the 2014 World Cup, we’ll have a large number of our clients that will travel to Brazil, but many of our clients, especially those in Europe will not be able to. So we will have the opportunity to use hospitality at such fan zones.”
The Aspire4Sport Congress and Exhibition, taking place at the Aspire Dome from 15-18 November, has attracted representatives, suppliers and broadcasters from all major sports to attend coaching clinics, product launches, star chats and special events.
Among the attendees at the conference were Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson; Michael Johnson, four time Olympic gold medalist and world record-holder; Formula One driver Rubens Barrichello; former England rugby coach Sir Clive Woodward; and former tennis heroes John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg.
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