London has stolen the crown of former three times winner Melbourne for the coveted title of the SportBusiness Ultimate Sports City of 2012. The highly prestigious accolade was awarded by the sports business publication SportsBusiness International which made the announced the at the annual global sports event SportAccord Convention in Quebec.
The win marks the first time that London has taken home the ‘Gold’ top position, having come third in the 2010 table. The capital beat off other international sporting destinations including Melbourne which came second, Sydney which was third and New York and Manchester all within the top five.
Over 25 finalist cities were ranked by the number of annual sports events hosted or secured between 2006 and 2014, plus additional criteria including transport, government support, public interest and quality of life. Other cities in the twenty-five include Sydney, Singapore, Berlin, Vancouver, Manchester Paris, Istanbul, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Glasgow, Doha, Madrid, Moscow and Budapest.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said:
"Delivering a lasting sporting legacy from the Games is a top priority and it's fantastic that the capital has hit the top spot in such an monumental year. Long after the Games have left town I am confident our new world class sporting venues, upgraded transport infrastructure will attract major international events to the capital, driving investment into jobs and economic growth for years to come."
Iain Edmondson, Head of Major Events at London & Partners said;
'We are delighted that London has achieved the top spot in such a significant year. It's been seven years since the city won the right to stage the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Since then we've been working tirelessly to make sure we don't let the opportunities presented by the Games pass us by. This award is recognition of London's status as a global leader in sport and major events and highlights are determination that there should be a true and lasting sports legacy for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in the future.”
Over the last decade, London has strengthened its position as a sports destination to become recognised globally as a leading city for major sporting events, having already won the bid to host major sporting events post-2012 including the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships, 2013 UEFA Champions League Final, the 2013 ITU World Championship Series Triathlon Grand Final, the 2015 Canoe Slalom World Championships and the even creation of a brand new world class two day festival of cycling which will take place in the summer of 2013.
As well as the Olympic related events London boasts a range of regular major sporting events such as the Wimbledon Championships, The FA Cup Final and The London Marathon which have for years captured the imagination of the world. Other global events such as the Grand Depart of the Tour De France, the regular season NFL games held at Wembley Stadium and the ATP tennis are all evidence that the largest sports, rights holders and sponsors are choosing the capital as the most exciting destination for major events.
Lead judge Rachael Church-Sanders from SportsBusiness International concluded: “It is fitting that England’s capital city London has triumphed in its Olympic year to win the award of SportBusiness’ Ultimate Sports City for the first time, despite stiff competition from Melbourne and Sydney in particular. London also ranked highly in the individual criteria, coming first for both Hosting and Public Sports Interest/Tourism. It was second in a further four categories and third in three, showing its capabilities as an all-rounder. London is consistently heralded as the perfect inspirational and iconic stage to host major events – largely due to the city’s passion for sport, excellent transport links and ability to draw huge international global press and media audiences. Regular annual events such as Wimbledon, the FA Cup Final and the London Marathon have captured the imagination of the world for years and make London a worthy winner of this award.”