Major cultural and sporting events – Report Summary

This is a House of Commons Committee report, with recommendations to government. The Government has two months to respond.

Author: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee

Related inquiry: Major cultural and sporting events

Date Published: 16 March 2022

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Summary

The UK has a strong reputation for hosting major events that promote our talent, culture and values around the world. In 2022, a landmark year for cultural, sporting and commemorative events in the UK, we consider the Government’s role in bidding for, funding and evaluating major events.

It is indicative of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s lack of spending power that the Government could find £11 million for a potential five-nation bid to host the World Cup 2030 while DCMS’s flagship cultural programme, UK City of Culture, is unable to guarantee any funding to successful applicants. During the drafting of this Report the UK-Ireland joint bid failed to proceed beyond the feasibility study, we conclude that any bid for major footballing events in the UK will be fatally undermined if the Government fails to implement the findings of the independent fan led review of football governance.

The Government and organisers have great ambitions for this year’s “festival of creativity”, Unboxed: Creativity in the UK, but have thus far failed to communicate a compelling vision for it to the British public, or to develop a meaningful plan for touring it internationally. With so little time to go before the festival’s programme begins, we seriously question whether it will deliver return on the £120 million investment for the public purse or simply prove its sceptics right.

Digital content is vital to achieve the ambitious engagement targets set out for this year’s events; however, traditional media platforms still play an important role in ensuring events reach the widest possible audience. We, therefore, call on the Government to strengthen the listed events regime and planning framework for major events to better reflect how people consume content.

Finally, we consider the legacies that major events leave behind for individuals, communities and cities and the challenges of funding, implementing and evaluating robust legacy plans. Although the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games present a great opportunity for the people of the West Midlands, particularly through its volunteer programme, there remains a sense that legacy funding and long-term evaluation have not been sufficiently prioritised.

This leads us to conclude that, ultimately, there is a lack of an overall vision or direction to the Government’s events policy. This needs to be addressed if the UK is to capitalise on the opportunities that major events provide.