Hello and thank you Lord Mayor for this introduction. It is a pleasure to be here for the launch of the research “Soft Power, Business and Investment Benefits for Major Sporting Events”.
First of all I would like to thank UK Sport, the City of London, Ernst and Young and all of the project consultants including colleagues from the Rugby Union World Cup, Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games for their contributions.
The government has long championed the many benefits of hosting major sporting events. They build stronger communities, improve mental and physical well-being, and inspire the next generation.
The UK has a world class reputation for hosting major sporting events. It’s an honor for the sector, many of which are here this morning, and of course an honor for many cities that are essential to the hospitality.
During the pandemic, major sporting events played an important role in boosting public morale when we really needed them, bringing enthusiasm to homes across the country.
And, after two difficult years, this government knows that we cannot rest on our laurels but that we must continue to build our reputation of being among the best in the world to host major sporting events.
In 2022 alone, we will host a prolific program of sporting events: the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, the UK’s largest multisport event since London 2012; the world gymnastics championships; the UEFA European Women’s Championships; the Rugby Union World Cup; and much more.
Along with the Jubilee and the Unboxed Festival, it will be an amazing year to showcase the country and achieve government goals. As stated in this report, that will mean maximizing all of these soft power, trading and investment opportunities. We must never underestimate the power of these events to generate jobs and contribute to the economy.
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games business and tourism program is an example of targeted government investment aimed specifically at converting the excitement and excitement of a major sporting event into business and tourism benefits. We need to ensure that there are many more similar initiatives in the future.
As you know, the Chancellor recently announced funding to support bids for the 2025 Women’s Rugby World Cup, the 2026 Tour de France Grand Départ and ongoing feasibility work on a potential UK bid and of Ireland to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup.
In order to secure this funding, my department worked with UK Sport and key partners to ensure that we demonstrate the extent of the socio-economic benefits that organizing events of this magnitude entails.
The report launched today highlights these important benefits and demonstrates them to the rest of government, to the sport sector, to industry and, most importantly, to the public.
This report expertly highlights how the benefits of Soft Power, trade, and investment directly help achieve government policy goals, such as promoting Global Britain and upgrading. Not to mention the opportunity for the UK to exert its influence internationally.
And, of course, the report concludes that the major sporting events of the coming decade have the potential to generate £ 4 billion in soft power, trade and investment for the UK.
These results will help support partnerships between the business and sport sectors to achieve all of these results, and more. They will also support the development of our future approach to sports diplomacy – and how we can use sport to strengthen the UK’s influence as a global power and force for good.
We must continue to work together to ensure that we apply the findings of this report and capitalize on the pipeline of events over the next ten years and beyond. I know you are all as determined to do this as I am.
So thank you again for the invitation this morning, and to everyone who participated in the production of this crucial work. This is a timely intervention that will serve to strengthen our arguments about why it is crucial that we make the next decade a golden decade for sport in the UK.