Glasgow is to co-host the first of an exciting new multi-sport event in 2018 following a decision by some of Europe’s top sports to bring together their prestigious European Championships for the first time.
In a sporting partnership with Berlin announced today, which will attract a projected television audience of around 850 million, Glasgow will be Host City to four sports including cycling and swimming as part of the inaugural European Sports Championships.
Given the heritage of the sport in Scotland, there is a further aspiration for golf to be included within the concept, with Gleneagles as the chosen venue. The event would be legacy from Scotland’s staging of the spectacular Ryder Cup in 2014.
The governing bodies of some of the top European sports have come together to create a strong new brand on the world stage to grow their television audiences and sponsorship opportunities. With more than 2700 hours of programming across some of Europe’s biggest free-to-air broadcasters planned, the event will enjoy massive exposure across the continent.
To be staged in the summer of 2018, around 2900 athletes will come to Scotland as part of a total delegation of around 8200 including officials, media and others. A further 1500 athletes will compete in Berlin as part of the exciting new 10 to 12 day fixture on the world’s sporting calendar.
Funded jointly by the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council, the new event will be run in partnership and allow Glasgow and Scotland to continue to build on the economic and sporting legacy achieved by staging the Commonwealth Games in 2014. With a cultural, tourism and sporting partnership also planned with Berlin, Glasgow will be promoted across Europe as a tourist and business destination.
With sport now contributing more than £360m of added value to the Glasgow economy and tourism bringing £495m a year to the city, attracting events of this calibre has become key to the city’s economic success. As well as Glasgow’s businesses enjoying a direct economic impact of more than £200m over the period of the Commonwealth Games, around 5500 young people gained apprenticeships as part of Games legacy and sport now supports around 10,000 jobs in the city.
Swimming, involving nearly 900 athletes, will be staged at three venues with the main swimming event at Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow and the diving and synchronised swimming at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh. The open water swimming competition is to be staged at Loch Lomond.
The four cycling competitions – track, road race, mountain-biking and BMX – will attract 650 of Europe’s top names to the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, the Cathkin Braes Mountain Bike Trails, the streets of Glasgow and a new BMX track to be built in the city. This is the first time all four cycling championships have been staged together.
Rowing and triathlon will see around 760 athletes compete at the world-class Strathclyde Country Park in North Lanarkshire.
Berlin will host the athletics at their iconic Olympic Stadium.
Glasgow’s Opening Ceremony will take place in George Square where there will be a live celebration zone throughout the Championships. Sauchiehall Street and the Merchant City Festival will also be live celebration zones with the focus for all the activities being focused on the city centre. The city will also stage a European Cultural Festival in collaboration with arts venues across the city.
Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, said: “Last summer Scotland showed the world what a tremendous job it can do when it comes to staging major sporting events, with the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup both hugely successful. As part of the legacy of those events, we want to attract even more top class sport to Scotland, and the European Sports Championships is certainly in that category.
“The European Sports Championships will be another chance for Scotland to prove it’s the perfect stage for top class events. Not only will this be a fantastic opportunity for Scottish sports fans to see some of Europe’s top athletes competing in our world-class venues, it will also be attract visitors from around the continent, providing a great boost to the economy.”
Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “I am delighted that Glasgow has been chosen by such prestigious sporting bodies to stage this new and exciting event in partnership with our friends in Berlin. We have been chosen because of our excellence and innovation and our proven ability to stage world-class events. Not to mention of course our citizens’ world-famous warm welcome, so superbly demonstrated during the Commonwealth Games, described as the best ever staged.
"Not only will Glasgow’s tourism offer be promoted across Europe helping to support our key services sector, but we will be able to continue many of the outstanding legacy initiatives which have done so much to create opportunity and help improve health and wellbeing outcomes for our citizens. For example, hosting these world class events has helped us increase attendance at sporting facilities by 50 per cent, and increased the number of people joining sports clubs by a staggering 288 per cent.
“Major events have become part of the bread and butter of our city’s economy and we can now look forward with tremendous excitement and focus to the next big thing on the Glasgow calendar.”