Saturday’s Comment in the Evening Cancer about the World Cup bid went on to claim, “there is the invaluable prospect of fantastic publicity for the city”
In September 2007, Egbert Oldenboom from MeerWaarde Sport and Economics in Amsterdam published research based on the results of a study conducted before and after the European Championships of 2000 that were held jointly in Belgium and Holland.
The purpose of the study was to measure the various host cities’ image and awareness abroad before and after being involved in a major sports event.
Reading through the report the conclusion has to be that publicity for a city hosting matches is dependent upon the success or otherwise of the national team of the country watching.
Put another way, because the German and English teams performed badly in 2000 going out at the group stages, there was a negative reaction from these countries toward the Dutch and Belgian host cities. Whereas the French and Italians whose teams reached the final had a positive view of the same cities.
In terms of overall name awareness for individual Dutch cities, from France, the tournament winners and the country which saw the largest increase in awareness of host cities, the following results were gathered:
Amsterdam – before the tournament 98.7% awareness, after 99.7%
Rotterdam (host for the final) – before 90.2%, after 95.3%
Utrecht – before 26.8%, after 43.5%
Groningen – before 22.5%, after 31.3%
Eindhoven – before 50.5%, after 68.6%
Arnhem – before 28.2%, after 36.2%
What is particularly surprising about the above results is that Utrecht and Groningen did not even host any games yet appear to have benefitted just as much in increased awareness as those cities that were used as venues!
It also appears the effect of any publicity is short-lived. Just before the 2000 tournament started, respondents were asked who hosted the 1996 tournament – only 12.4% were able to correctly identify that it was held in England. Even British respondents only had a 19.6% success rate with Germany – the winners in 96 – next on 16.4%. All the other countries had less than 10% of respondents able to correctly identify the host country – let alone individual cities within that country!
So the overall effect might be that if Bristol is lucky enough to host, say Brazil – and they win the tournament – we can expect more Brazilians to know about Bristol. If on the other hand they perform badly, the Brazilians will disassociate themselves from anything to do with Bristol.
But don’t worry, good or bad, the effects will all be over by the time the next World Cup comes around …
In the unlikely event you were going to spend around £50m on marketing the city or ‘place marketing’ as Jan ‘n’ Steve call it – as they hang in the ‘breakout space’ – is this really an efficient way to do it?