- Published on Sunday, 16 September 2012 10:07
The Event Planning Group (EPG) was kept busy in London during the recent Olympic and Paralympic Games, deploying more than 100 of its staff to operational roles at LOCOG. But while that event was being run, one of EPG’s number was in Rio, setting up a Brazilian operation.
“We have been in discussions with various parties in Brazil for a while now, so we felt it was time to put some people on the ground here,” explained Simon Calder, EPG account director, who has been based in Rio since July.
EPG has been operating since 1998, providing services to summer and winter Olympic Games, UEFA EURO Championships, FIFA World Cups, UEFA Champions League Finals, as well as a range of other major global events.
When asked what EPG hopes to achieve in Brazil, Calder replied: “We’re here with an open mind, really. We have skills and knowledge that we believe can be useful for event organisers and host cities, but often it’s a matter of timing, of catching the right moment in the event life cycle. So initially, it’s all about meeting and getting to know local event operators and letting people know what services we can offer. In Brazil, we’re focusing on Overlay Planning, Safety & Security and Event Operations.”
A key step in the process was establishing a local partnership: “I think also it’s important to recognise what you don’t know. We don’t pretend to be experts on doing business here in Brazil, so we took an early decision to form a local alliance with Grupo Open. Grupo Open is a good fit for us. It is young and dynamic, and its skills are complimentary to ours, rather than being similar. The company has an existing network of suppliers and connections, and importantly, has offices in Rio, Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte and Brasilia and is active in a number of other cities too.”
Asked where the main opportunities might lie, Calder replied: “Initially, one of the really useful services we offer is support on overlay planning. It’s an area where an LOC or a host city doesn’t need to make their own mistakes – somebody has already made them for you!
“I would say that a challenge in Brazil will be to make the most of the local overlay supply chain, and then identifying where international suppliers might be needed. We can assist in assessing local capabilities, analysing tender submissions and using our experience to achieve good cost outcomes with international supply chain where needed.
“We don’t have any allegiances to suppliers, so we act as an independent advocate for our clients. We can draw on vast amounts of actual cost data from previous events, as well as first-hand build experience. It’s a great service in terms of return-on-investment. Usually we can save a lot of money for our clients and cut out a lot of wasted time.”
Another area that EPG specialises in is stadium safety. “It is important to recognise that Brazil runs hundreds of safe football events every year,” said Calder, “so we offer a range of services to complement local skills. The aim is to ensure a secure environment that combines Brazilian flair with international best-practices.”
He added: “Our stadium safety team has been involved in security operations at the FIFA World Cup, UEFA EURO Championships and Champions League Finals, so we know what works and what the International Federations expect.”
Beyond that, other EPG services include computer generated crowd simulations - powerful tools for visualising, analysing and communicating how a venue will work - and operational readiness training to help organisations transition from planning to successful tournament operations.
In regard to potential clients, Calder said: “EPG supplied the overlay cost data for the Rio 2016 bid, so we hope to continue that relationship. At four years out, that gives us a good window to really add value.
“In terms of the FIFA World Cup, we’d love to be involved that at some level too, but at two years to go that event is on a different part of the curve. I’d like to think that with our partner Grupo Open we could provide services to host cities. But like I said, we’re here with an open mind, so we’ll be exploring all sorts of opportunities.”
For further details about EPG Brazil, contact Simon Calder: