Glasgow breaks into the world’s top five best sporting cities

Glasgow has continued its meteoric rise up the global rankings of the world’s top sporting cities after it climbed three places to finish fifth in the world at the prestigious 2016 SportBusiness Ultimate Sports Cities Awards.

Glasgow was also named the number one city in the world in the Legacy category in reflection of its longstanding commitment to increasing participation and creating new sporting opportunities for citizens in the lead up to and beyond the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

And in a further award Glasgow was named Best Small City by population band beating Amsterdam, Calgary, Doha and Vancouver in the process cementing the city’s position as a world leading sports city. The announcement was made at the SportAccord Convention in Lausanne.

The SportBusiness Ultimate Sports Cities Awards, which are held every two years, are the internationally recognised and longest established rankings of the world’s top sports hosts. Glasgow secured a ranking of eighth in the world in 2014, having moved up one place from ninth in 2012. The city made its debut in the 2010 rankings when it finished in 11th place.  

The news comes during a golden era for sport in the city. Building on the success of the best ever Commonwealth Games, just last year Glasgow delivered the FIG World Gymnastics Championships, the IPC Swimming World Championships and two historic Davis Cup ties. 

 The World Gymnastics Championships were credited with setting a new benchmark for the sport with FIG President Professor Bruno Grandi, saying that they were “even better than the Olympic Games”. Around 80,000 spectators watched a record 594 gymnasts from 87 nations during the 10-day event.

 In 2017 Glasgow will host the World Badminton Championships and the city will also co-host the inaugural European Championships in 2018 – an exciting new multi-sport event that will bring together the existing European events in athletics, aquatics, cycling, gymnastics, rowing and triathlon along with a new team golf event. Around 3,025 athletes will travel to Scotland as part of a total delegation of around 8,500 including officials, media and others.

 Chief Executive of Glasgow City Council, Annemarie O’Donnell, said: “Glasgow’s sporting reputation has never been higher. Our rise as one of the world’s top sporting cities has been secured thanks to our investment in world-class facilities, our international events programme and our commitment to increasing participation and leaving a lasting legacy for future generations.

 “In recent years we have spent close to £200million building new and improved sports venues such as the Emirates Arena, which has helped us attract some of the world’s biggest and best events. But we never live on past glories in Glasgow and are already looking forward to the 2017 World Badminton Championships and the 2018 European Championships.

 “To be ranked fifth in the world at the SportBusiness Ultimate Sport City Awards and to have won the Legacy Award and Best City in world in our population band is testament to our city’s love of sport.”

 Rachael Church, Head Judge and Founder of Ultimate Sports Cities, said: "It is no surprise to me that Glasgow continues to move up the rankings of the SportBusiness Ultimate Sports Cities awards and has won the Legacy Award.

 “Glasgow is an all-rounder when it comes to hosting major sports events, choosing ones that fit carefully devised objectives while at the same time showcasing a vibrant sports-mad city. The legacy benefits of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games will continue for generations to come and are to be applauded and admired."

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “In recent years, the City of Glasgow has flourished as one of the world’s leading sporting cities. Following the monumental occasion that was the XX Commonwealth Games, Glasgow has continued to deliver events of international importance and earn the praise and admiration of federations worldwide.  

 “The latest Ultimate Sport Cities ranking is a tremendously encouraging endorsement for all Scottish partners who are involved in bringing major sporting events to Glasgow and, with many other significant events on horizon, we are confident that the city’s star will continue to rise still further in the future.”

 The overall top 20 is as follows.

 1 - New York

2 - London

3 - Melbourne

4 - Auckland

5 - Glasgow

6 - Calgary

7 - Copenhagen

8 - Manchester

9 - LA

10 - Tokyo

11 - Sydney

12 - Berlin

13 - Paris

14 - Singapore

15 - Gold Coast

16 - Vancouver

17 - Dubai

18 - Amsterdam

19 - Doha

20 - Cardiff

 The shortlisted cities were ranked by SportBusiness’ expert judging panel, who all have extensive knowledge of sports events and the destinations that host them. The shortlisted cities were also evaluated in population bands according to the size and volume of events hosted between 2012 and 2020 alongside a range of other criteria including:

transport and infrastructure
event strategy
government and public support
quality of life
marketing/promotional ability/branding.

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