Maxim Kleiman, Repucom Expert Russia, on Sochi Insights:
365 Day Hosts
As has perhaps become more apparent in the public domain over the last decade with events being hosted in ever bigger and better and seemingly more expensive environments, hosting major events is big business for cities and countries alike.
The key theme that runs through hosting major events such as was seen in London 2012, Sochi 2014 and that we are sure to see in the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil 2014, is the sense of national identity. Indeed, hosting major events opens up an opportunity to showcase these locations to the world and perhaps most importantly, their business capabilities, infrastructure and investment opportunities.
For locations which do not have the reputation and popularity of the world’s larger cities however, these characteristic and themes do still exist. For smaller and less well known cities and locations, creating a sense of place or even a ‘brand identity’ is one thing, but ensuring that this identity is sustained is another.
Sochi is one such example. Before the Games, the Black Sea resort was perhaps known mainly by Russian holiday makers but very few people from further afield. What plays in Sochi’s favour is its geography. Indeed, Sochi benefits from being a location which can be used 365 days of the year, cold in the winter and hot in the summer, meaning that it can host an array of different sports all year round.
Sochi is fairly unique in this sense although there are of course other such locations where conditions for a full calendar year of sports is suited. For example, Calgary, Seoul and Zurich all share similar annual weather patterns to Sochi and could provide excellent locations for hosting major events. For these venues, being able to offer more than a one-time-only opportunity to host large scale events is key. For lesser well know host venues to maintain and build upon the heightened exposure provided to them by hosting an event like the Winter Games, this is an essential ingredient to ensuring the venue remains at the forefront of both fans’ and organisers’ minds. Something that Sochi is certainly looking to achieve.
In October of this year, Sochi will be the host of Russia’s first ever F1 race and in four years will be a host city for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Indeed, Sochi offers a lot to a lot of people. As an F1, World Cup and Winter Olympic host, it is clear to imagine the added value Sochi’s climate presents to what was but a few years ago, merely a black sea resort.