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Manchester Games chief tells how Glasgow can best capitalise on the 2014 show

Tony Hill, head of marketing for Manchester's 2002 Commonwealth Games, offers Glasgow some advice on how to get in shape for the challenges of the 2014 Games.

While lessons can be learned from the 2002 Manchester's Games, Glasgow has the potential to reignite the regeneration of the city. And putting in place the framework for an aggressive marketing campaign can only help this drive.

"Marketing should, very much, be a focus for Glasgow, as it was Manchester," says Hill.

"There are opportunities to bring the city to life with fantastic imagery and really make the sport intrinsic to the very fabric of what is happening in Glasgow."

Mega budgets

However, he is not so optimistic for the opportunities that might lie ahead for the city's indigenous marketing agencies and doubts that the event itself will lead to a great amount of added business for marketing companies in Scotland.

"Will there be a bonanza for agencies? It's hard to tell, because the Commonwealth Games doesn't command mega budgets and you will find that a lot of people within the organising committee for Glasgow will be looking for, if not free, certainly cheap options that also link in with sponsorship deals."

As to how much of a budget Hill had to work with, he says that there was little in the way of resources or spend in the initial years.

"The marketing budget we had in the initial few years was maybe a couple of hundred grand, a very small budget. However, the budgets grew as the event approached and in the final year alone we had a print budget of nearly £1.25m."

Hill continues, saying that there was also very little spent on marketing the Games outside of Britain, as many countries would be promoting the event themselves.

Meanwhile, he believes that the most important aspect of revenue streaming was through the media reporting the event.

"The TV income was where a lot of the revenue was generated, the selling of TV rights to the channels across the world - including Australia, New Zealand and India. Certainly, when we did it in 2002, Channel 7 in Australia spent a decent amount of money, mainly because the Australians bring a swimming team that regularly wins all of the Gold medals.

"Coverage from the BBC is also a likely conclusion," he continues.

"You need your main home broadcasters and their international counterparts to carry the signal. That gives you the opportunity to say to sponsors 'you will be seen by about a quarter of the world's population.' At that point you can start to speak to some of the really big brands with regard to sponsorship deals."

Worth More

However, the commission has suggested that the Games might not hit its target for broadcasting rights, as, at present, it’s impossible to predict how new technology might impact on the broadcast market seven years from now. While it could be worth more than currently projected, the commission has suggested it might be worth less. It is impossible to judge how the Internet might dilute the broadcasting rights in place.

It's also impossible to predict how the world may be in 2014. On the flip-side, though, with more countries coming in there is also more potential revenue.

Hill says that the sponsorship of the Games has to work 'in the form of a pyramid' with the main sponsors spending the most, moving onto partners for the games starting at less, and then 'friends' of the games at the lowest spending level. This method of top-down marketing could be one way to avoid the problematic "ambush marketing" measures.

"At the top tier, those parties that are paying £2m upwards want to guarantee good visibility and exclusivity. In Manchester, we sold separate enhancements to the major sponsors exclusively.

"With Imperial Leather, for example, they secured all of the signage behind the 100m starting blocks which gets phenomenal coverage. They then tied their advertising into the sporting themes.

"You've got to find a way to link the activity to the product otherwise you will find that you don't have the physical cut through."

Commonwealth Games Benefits Study

Commissioned by the North West Development Agency following the Manchester games in 2002.

The main impacts of the Games can be summarised as follows.

  • The Games resulted in at least 20,000 new jobs, and major developments planned in the East Manchester area are expected to create over 10,000 additional jobs.
  • In total, around £600m has been invested in the Northwest and it is expected that in East Manchester alone there will be over £2billion in public and private investment over the next 15 years.
  • The Games provided a legacy in terms of world class sporting facilities, events and, to a limited extent, increased participation in sport. Facilities include the City of Manchester Stadium (£111m), English Institute of Sport in East Manchester (£16m); regional hockey centre at Belle Vue (£4m), Aquatics Centre in the city centre (£32m), improvements to Heaton Park in Manchester (£1m) and National Shooting Centre (£6m).
  • The Games speeded up investment in major transport links such as Metrolink, and demonstrated successful uses of public transport and Park and Ride. The improvements have also included a new rail station and ground interchange at the airport, quality bus corridors, refurbishment of Piccadilly train station hall and completion of Manchester/Salford Inner Relief Road and final link of the M60.
  • 250 companies obtained contracts worth a total of £22m as a result of the Games. A legacy is expertise in event planning and operation in the region. A business club set up for the Games continues to grow with members from 26 countries. A study for NWDA found that 33 percent of northwest opinion leaders believed that the region had improved as a place to do business as a result of the Games, and 24 percent of companies in the Northwest believed that the Games had made a positive impact on their business.
  • The media coverage reached over one billion people providing a boost for tourism. The atmosphere created by the Games combined with associated cultural activities and an inclusive approach contributed to positive perceptions of the event amongst members of the public. Monitoring of the press coverage achieved during the Games period identified the equivalent of in excess of £1m in Public Relations value to the region.
  • One million visitors came to Manchester over the 10 days of the Games, and there was £18m of net expenditure by visitors to the Games. Greater Manchester experienced an increase of 50,000 overseas resident visits. An additional £46m has been spent by visitors in the region during and since the Games, and it is estimated that there will be an additional 300,000 visitors to Manchester each year as a result.

Key Lessons

It is difficult to promote and generate interest in an event 2-3 years in advance, and that an intense programme of marketing within six months of the event is more appropriate.

Targets were set to achieve a desired level of income from sponsors, and a 'top down' approach was adopted which focused first of all on getting large companies to sponsor the event in order to generate a initial target of £2m, with a £1m target then set for lower level partners. These sponsors were offered exclusive use of the Commonwealth Games branding, and these companies provided a large amount of 'value in kind.'

Some felt the Games organising committee exerted too much control over the sponsors in terms of how they could use the Games brand.

It was argued that this control was essential to preserve the image of the Games, and this meant that, for example, companies who sell alcohol were not allowed to sponsor the Games, as it was not considered appropriate to associate sport with use of alcohol.

This control was also necessary to ensure that consistent messages were delivered by sponsors to the media.

The fact that use of the Games logo was restricted to main sponsors was frustrating for some stakeholders, although Games branding was also available for local authorities and non-project organisations.

Suggested Improvements

  • Build legacy into the sponsorship deal. It was suggested that sponsors should be encouraged to fund activities after an event which would help build on the legacy. Also, a percentage of the sponsorship deal could be allocated to legacy activities.
  • There should be a brand for the main event, which can be used exclusively by the main sponsors, and another brand combining the main and any associated events, which can be used by other sponsors.
  • Despite these suggestions, it is important to note that use of the logo has to be restricted to major sponsors so that those who have paid the most receive most benefits, and this will apply on other major strategic events.

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