Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Sheffield City Council


  1.1  In response to the request for written evidence by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee. Sheffield's submission will focus in the following areas:

    —  The event business.

    —  Bidding for events.

    —  Staging of events.

    —  Funding for events.

    —  Issues for Sheffield/Local Authorities.

    —  Athletics events in the United Kingdom.

  1.2  Sheffield has had significant involvement in the event business since 1990. Prior to this our involvement had revolved around the World Snooker Championships and professional football.

  1.3  The investment of £39 million in high quality state of the art sports facilities for the World Student Games in 1991 provided a platform and catalyst for the city to develop its Major Sports Events Programme.

  1.4  Since 1990 the city has staged over 430 national and international events. This programme of events has included:

    —  16 World Championships;

    —  15 European Championships;

    —  65 International Championships;

    —  47 different sports;

    —  25 different venues.

  1.5  Significant events that have taken place during this period include:

    —  World Student Games 1991;

    —  European Swimming Championships 1993;

    —  World Snooker Championships;

    —  Euro '96 1996;

    —  World Master Swimming 1996;

    —  World Speed Skating Championships 2000;

    —  Women's World Team Squash Championships 2000.

  1.6  In delivering such an extensive programme the city has developed a world-wide reputation for staging international sports events. It has developed the skill and expertise to assist event owners in delivering high-class events.

  1.7  The role of attracting and staging the events in Sheffield falls to the City Councils Major Sports Events Unit. To assist them in carrying out this function they have developed excellent working arrangements with Sheffield International Venues, Destination Sheffield and the voluntary and business sector within the city.

  1.8  Sheffield's strategy for the attraction and staging of major sports events is straightforward. Each individual event is evaluated against criteria set by the city with respect to its programme. This indicates the suitability or otherwise of the event to the city in terms of satisfying and achieving the key aims and objectives of the programme. (Details of the aims and objectives have been made available to previous inquiries. These are available if required).


  2.1  Major sports events has both a national and international dimension. At both levels risk and uncertainties are present. This can be in respect of performance quality, spectator support levels, sponsorship availability, TV coverage etc.

  2.2  The range of organisations that now have an interest and involvement complicates the sports events market. These can include national and international governing bodies, broadcast organisations, companies involved with sport sponsorship, sports marketing, sports management and sports technology.

  2.3  The significance and benefits of hosting major sports events have become recognised across the world. As a result the competition for staging such events is increasing at a national and international level.

  2.4  This competition has resulted in the International Governing bodies being in a very strong position with numerous countries/cities often bidding to stage an event. They are now expecting more from national federations and in return from host cities.

  2.5  The United Kingdom Sports Council role of lead agency responsible for events in this country has resulted in a much more cohesive and objective strategy for the staging of events. However events that fall outside their criteria for Lottery funding (eg masters events and national championships) still have no element of control nationally.


  3.1  The international governing bodies of sport differ in who they will accept bids from. In many cases bids have to be received from the national federation of a sport. Others will except bids direct from a host city.

  3.2  If it is a multi-sports event it is often acceptable for bids to be received from a host city but in single sport events the bids are in the main required from the national federation.

  3.3  The development of international bids are made by the host city and national federations. Even though there are Lottery funds to support bids local authorities often still have to resource considerable elements of this. For national events the host city meet the total cost of the bid.

  3.4  Prior to the bid being submitted a contract/agreement in writing between the City Council and the governing body will be finalised, clearly setting out the division of responsibility and level of financial commitment. This exercise will be repeated with all other agencies involved in the proposed event.

  3.5  Sheffield has enjoyed the support of many organisations when bidding for international sporting events. The two city universities, local hotels and restaurants, Destination Sheffield the city visitor and conference bureau, the Sheffield Chambers of Commerce and Trade and many local businesses have all at some stage provided support for bids.


  4.1  The agreement reached between the City Council and governing body prior to bidding for the event will have identified the division of responsibilities for staging and managing the event.

  4.2  In Sheffield's experience the expertise available from within the governing bodies towards staging the events differ greatly. This also includes the range of skills available. An increasing number of governing bodies are contracting with private event promoters to carry out the delivery of their events.

  4.3  Through the experience and expertise available within the city from hosting in excess of 430 events over the past 10 years, we identify the areas of support that will compliment those of the governing body concerned.

  4.4  The range of services that we can provide to assist a governing body include: event planning, financial management, marketing, accommodation, accreditation, protocol, securing sponsorship acquisition, publicity, promotion, transportation, communication, catering, media etc.

  4.5  These agreed services are then delivered through the work of professional full time staff within the Sports Events Unit. The support of contracted staff and the work of locally recruited volunteers compliment this.

  4.6  As a result of previous major events in the city such as the World Student Games, Special Olympics etc. we have a database of volunteers that have vast experience in such events. The value of such people has recently been highlighted in the successful staging of the Sydney Olympics.

  4.7  These individuals often provide the resource and infrastructure to compliment the technical expertise provided from within the sport to run an event.


  5.1  The financial responsibility for the event will have been laid down in the initial agreement prior to bidding for the event.

  5.2  The funding available to balance the budget can come from many different sources. These include Local Authority contributions, governing body contributions, sponsorships, entry fees, merchandising sales, ticketing, broadcasting rights, National Lottery revenue funding etc.

  5.3  The availability of National Lottery revenue funding through the World Class Events Programme is a welcome addition to the possible funding sources. However with the applications going predominantly via the governing bodies they are looking to Local Authorities to provide the resource that helps them meet their minimum 65 per cent funding. As a result governing bodies are putting increased pressure on Local Authorities (particularly with increased competition between Authorities) to provide a greater financial contribution to support an event.

  5.4  With the development of new facilities across the country increasing due to the availability of Lottery funds then governing bodies often have a greater choice in possible venues for an event (eg athletics and swimming). In some cases governing bodies are using this situation to "auction" events to potential host cities.

  5.5  Prior to the availability of revenue funding from the National Lottery, cities such as Sheffield had been providing finance to underwrite bids for and the staging of events. It was hoped that the availability of the finance through the World Class Events Programme would ease this situation. Unfortunately this does not seem to be the case.


  6.1  Local Authorities accept that many benefits are accrued from the hosting of major sports events both in terms of direct economic impact and city marketing.

  6.2  Many of the facilities that host events are Local Authority owned and/or funded. Without the availability of such facilities many of the events staged in this county could not take place.

  6.3  UK Sports Council provides a control mechanism and strategy for the bidding and staging of the mega events such as World Cup Football, World Cup Cricket etc. However this level of event due to their very nature only take place on a periodic basis. The core programme for many facilities and Local Authorities lies in national governing body events (eg National Cup Finals and international fixtures). There is no co-ordination of strategy into the staging and placing of such events.

  6.4  Facility owners obviously have the responsibility of maintaining and keeping facilities at a level suitable for international competitions. This often requires considerable resource and forward planning. In considering this investment, facility owners will be looking for commitments from national governing bodies concerning future usage. Sheffield's recent experiences (particularly with athletics) is that governing bodies rather than make such commitments to a city, they use the supply of facilities to extract additional resources from host cities. With the future uncertainties cities such as Sheffield may decide that necessary investments can no longer be made.

  6.5  Sheffield built their facilities suitable for staging major sports events prior to the availability of National Lottery funding. As a result Sheffield City Council has a continuing debt burden for these facilities of £22 million per annum. Cities such as Manchester will have received considerable funding from the National Lottery and as a result may still have the availability of resources to direct towards bidding and hosting events. There seems to be no recognition of this by event owners when negotiating with potential host cities.


  7.1  To stage the World Athletics Championships in 2005 UK Athletics are looking at the development of a national stadium at Picketts Lock.

  7.2  Sheffield is concerned at the impact on the location of athletics events within the UK arising not only from the development of this facility but also in the policies adapted by the sport for the allocation of international status athletics events.

  7.3  In recent meetings with UK Athletics they have indicated that domestic televised events will still be allocated around the country. We are not convinced that this will be the case when the National Stadium is built. If it is, what will take place at the National Stadium?

  7.4  At present UK Athletics has assigned the marketing rights and operational delivery of their events to an agency (Fast Track). They run a programme of events including the four international fixtures (Grand Prix, Grand Prix II, Championship Trials and International Match).

  7.5  In looking at the allocation of the events they have adapted a competitive process between facility owners that looks to provide the greatest financial return to them and UK Athletics.

  7.6  This process has no clear tender of bidding structure and gives no details on the basis that decisions in allocating the event are made.

  7.7  The process has resulted in an escalating cost to host venues/cities and has provided the uncertainty of events mentioned in 6.4.

  7.8  Venues such as Don Valley Stadium are left with the uncertainty of whether they will stage an event even though the city has supported British Athletics since being built in 1990.

  7.9  Even though the venue had the highest crowds for events each year in the country between 1990 and 1998 it has not been allocated an International fixture in 1999, 2000, 2001.

  7.10  As a result Don Valley with a capacity of 25,000 (the same proposed figure for Picketts Lock following the 2005 World Championship) has an uncertain future for athletics (and no control over this) whilst £60 million will be ploughed to develop a facility of similar size.

  7.11  There is a concern that the situation that now applies in athletics may well be repeated in other sports.

  7.12  This position gives Sheffield no incentive to continue with the significant investment in supplying not only athletic events but also other facilities that support many sports that has resulted in the delivery of 430 sports events.

January 2001

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