The major event industry has not only survived the Covid-19 pandemic but is playing a key role in host cities’ recovery from it, with the established benefits of hosting driving a strong renewal of demand: stimulating economies, boosting tourism, improving public health and driving positive social change.

Some 40% of hosts we surveyed said they were staging more local events than they did pre-pandemic, while 32% were welcoming more international ones. And 29% of rights holders reported increased demand to host their events, compared to just 5% experiencing less.

This means the market is now more competitive than ever – a state of play that has important implications for buyers and sellers alike.

If hosts are having to go all in to win, they need to be certain they are chasing the right events. That means investing in identifying the properties that will best support their strategic goals, fit their venue and infrastructure capabilities, and engage the audiences they most want to reach.

Renewed appetite for major events is creating exciting opportunities for rights holders, but host cities’ strengthened due diligence will place new demands on them too. To enter new markets, build brand and grow revenue, properties of all sizes will need a value proposition that aligns with the needs of prospective hosts, and be able to articulate its specific, relevant benefits to them.

Our first SEER report, published in 2020, explored the misalignment our research uncovered in host cities and rights holders’ understanding of each other’s requirements and objectives. Three years on, the world is a very different place – changed by the shock of the pandemic and the severe global economic contraction that has followed.

So now, in 2023, we’ve canvassed once more the opinions of senior decision-makers to understand how the major event business has changed too, and what its future looks like now:

1. Global demand landscape: Why is the market more competitive than ever?
1 in 3 hosts are staging more international events than pre-Covid, while China’s return and the rise of MENA will create a more competitive, multi-power future landscape.

2. Economic impact: Why do rights holders need to justify it more than ever?
91% of hosts say it’s the #1 reason to invest in events, but only 1 in 3 believe event owners are able to deliver this to a great extent.

3. Social impact: Can events actually make a difference?
The proportion of hosts rating community impacts as a key driver of event investment has fallen by 21%, but rights          holders are learning how to unlock the benefits of their events for society through deliberate long-term planning.

4. Women’s sports events: Why aren’t all hosts capitalising now?
Private investment is at an all-time high, but only 1 in 10 hosts believe women’s sport offers them the best ROI right now.

5. Cultural events: What about the arts?
Our data shows sport is braced for a culture shock, with hosts valuing music festivals as joint #1 for ROI over many types of sports events.

6. Esports: Are hosts still ignoring their full potential?
3 in 4 hosts want events that can help build their destination brand, yet only 3% say esports events offer strong ROI.

7. Rights fees and budget: How can events maintain their place in a global economic crisis?
3 in 4 hosts say lack of budget is the major threat to their future ability to stage events, but rights holders are being more creative than ever to accommodate more flexible solutions.

We hope this new perspective will help rights holders and hosts build mutually beneficial relationships.


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