Insights from Host City 2021

Insights from Host City 2021

20th December 2021

Insights from Host City 2021

MEI staff member, Ollie Morris listened in to some of the panels during Host City 2021, here are his observations, highlighting 3 major themes:



Making Global Event Delivery more Efficient

Argyris Caridakis, Director of Games Service at Paris 2024 discussed the use of a ‘Win-win’ event delivery model which uses existing stadiums, arenas and existing expertise to help deliver a successful major event. Using this approach allows more resources to be placed in other critical areas, such as encouraging ‘greener’ behaviour among spectators through the use of public transport.


Nadja Burkhardt, Event Supervisor at Eurovision, raised the challenges they are facing with their future Italian host city generated by the need for suppliers to go through a tender process only 5 months before the event in May 2022. As with Paris, Burkhardt highlighted the importance of implementing sustainable practices for the event to help Eurovision reduce its global footprint in the future.


The Championship, R&A have managed to reduce their carbon footprint by 40%. In the future, Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director would like to further this and become more sustainable by using vegetable oil fuels and investing in solar energy.


These three individuals clearly demonstrated the message which was echoed by many across the events industry of the utmost importance to focus on delivering increasingly sustainable events in the future.



Where Real vs Virtual Worlds meet

The growth of the esports industry has been exponential and has been further accelerated since the start of the pandemic. Mark Cray, Director of Secretariat at the Global Esports Federation and Executive Director of the Singapore 2021 Global Esports Games, reinforced a strong and positive advertisement of Esports with “access to all'' regardless of factors such as age and gender.


More recently, a large number of iconic events have also been developed in a virtual form, such as the Tour De France. Sean Perry, Commercial Strategy Director at Zwift provided an insight into how their products give consumers the opportunity to participate in competitions and extensive training opportunities from their own homes. It is estimated that  230,000 people got involved in 2 stages of the world renowned bike race. The World Baseball Softball Confederation are another International Federation who have also developed their esports capability, as explained by Secretary General, Beng Choo Low.


This shift to a hybrid world brings a vast number of beneficial impacts, from environmental, social and resource requirements to extensive financial ramifications.



How events and cities can contribute to environmental objectives

Georgina Grenon, Director of Sustainability at the Organising Committee for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games expanded on Caridakis’ point about having a green focus on the Games by using an energy program which relies on the grid rather than building temporary infrastructures. Paris 2024 are also developing a catering program which can offer lower carbon footprint foods and uses less single use plastics. The main take-away I gained from Georgina was that if the industry is to achieve its sustainability goals, it needs to work with spectators to do so.


Boudour Al Meer, Sustainability Director at the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy stated that Qatar World Cup 2022 will be carbon natural. It will be interesting to see if this is achieved. Even if it does not, it will be moving the dial and challenging future events to achieve this objective.


The need for the education of those involved in the events industry was reinforced by Tim Briercliffe, Secretary General at the International Association of Horticultural Producers as he stated that “educating people on setting and achieving sustainability targets at major events will mitigate carbon emissions”. I agree that people now understand the importance of sustainability, they just need some guidance on how this can be achieved and some incentives to make it happen. The majority of an event’s carbon footprint is delivered through fan transportation to the event, so how about a discount for those proving that they have travelled by public transport?