Busy days for the Birmingham organisers at the SportAccord Convention in Bangkok, Thailand: the booth for The World Games 2021 has become the place to be, especially for the federations on the programme of the 11th edition of the multi-sport event (15-25 July 2021).
- After the sports programme for The World Games 2021 was announced at the Annual General Meeting, the international federations started their conversations about ‘where’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ with the local organisers. The Birmingham booth, right next to the entrance to the exhibition hall at SportAccord, has been like Grand Central Station ever since.
“Even on Monday, before the convention was officially opened, we had appointments with the representatives of two federations. Now we have meetings with up to twelve international federations (IFs) a day,” DJ Mackovets said on Wednesday after his second full day of meetings.
The CEO of the Birmingham Organizing Committee (BOC) serves together with Jonathan Porter, Chairman of BOC, Sports Director Steve Mistrot and David F. Galbaugh, Vice President of Sports Sales & Marketing of the City of Birmingham, as counterparts for the Presidents and Secretary Generals of the IFs. The BOC team has taken its time to listen to suggestions from the experts in each specific sport, and to answer questions from the federations.
What are the questions that are most asked?
“The federations want to know which venue we will provide for their sports and disciplines. And the federations want to learn more about the seating capacity of existing venues, or the ones we plan to install as temporary fields of play,” DJ Mackovets stated. “Of course we have an idea which venue we can offer for the competitions. Still, it’s very helpful to listen to the federations and to learn what requirements they have.”
The CEO of the Birmingham organisers gave an example of this process when talking about a meeting he held with the International Orienteering Federation: “We could offer two or three options which were all suitable for Orienteering. Now we have to find out which is the best one. What we have to do, as local organisers, is to learn more about the technical requirements.” And there is more to it: The layout for the spectators and the set-up for the media have to be considered as well. DJ Mackovets: “Venue selection is probably the biggest operation for us, here in 2018.”
According to the plan, the first phase of this process should be concluded before the Competition Managers meeting in Birmingham at the beginning of October this year. “We want to present the IFs with information on which venues we recommend as the best for their sports. During the on-site visits, we can see how our proposals fit the expectations and requirements of the Competition Managers, to enable them to run an outstanding event at each venue.”
DJ Mackovets describes the announcement of the sports programme as an important milestone on the road to Birmingham. The CEO appreciated the cooperation with the International World Games Association (IWGA) to identify sports which can showcase themselves in July 2021. “We respect that we don’t have a lot of say in the selection. But the IWGA has been very helpful, speaking to us about some of the sports we thought were great for the spectators in Birmingham but also for the media, especially for TV, in the US. It’s obvious that we want to sell as many tickets as we can. We appreciate that the IWGA has listened to us when we said which sports are very popular in Birmingham and in the south of the USA.”
- For example Lacrosse and Softball, two very popular sports in the US, are on the programme. “This is hugely important to us”, DJ Mackovets stated. But there is a strong Flying Disc community in Atlanta as well. A lot of colleges in Birmingham have Wakeboard and Waterski teams, as well as Bowling.
And what about the sports which are not so well known to the US consumers?
“The World Games will give these federations the opportunity to present themselves in our country. I think that provides a big opportunity to showcase their sports and disciplines,” DJ Mackovets said. To support sports such as Korfball or Fistball, the BOC will work on a special marketing plan for each sport. And the organisers reckon there might be a kind of ‘hop on – hop off’ effect. Spectators who have watched a session of one sport they know, might then be interested to visit another competition nearby, out of curiosity. The idea is to build clusters. Spectators will be able to watch more than one sport at venues within walking distance of each other. That what’s makes the difference when hosting a multi-sport event: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.