Melbourne has just been shortlisted by Sports Business International as one of thirty cities vying for the Ultimate Sports City Award. Criteria for the award include high standard venues, transport infrastructure, public and government support, security and marketing.
Melbourne’s no certainty to win. London, New York and Paris have been nominated. Like Melbourne they are Grand Slam cities. Unlike Melbourne, they house sporting brands which attract global attention.
Then there’s Dubai and Doha, cities that are reshaping world sport.
Since 2005 Melbourne has won the title on three occasions – 2006, 2008 and 2010 – and so can justifiably claim to be the world’s best sports business city of the last decade.
The city has reinvented itself around sport. To the west is the Docklands or Etihad Stadium, while on the east side are the MCG, AAMI Stadium and the Tennis Centre. Three AFL teams are based there and Melbourne Victory. All of these venues are easily accessible from the city centre.
On the south side are Albert Park Lake, home of the Australian Grand Prix, and the Victorian Institute of Sport.
All year round there’s sport that captures local and global attention. The AFL circus is the main one, but once it finishes in September there’s the Melbourne Cup Carnival, golf on the sand-belt courses, Boxing Day at the ‘G, and then the Slam and the Prix.
The Cup, the Slam and Prix in particular package Melbourne for global TV audiences. The city skyline is every bit a feature as the sporting events themselves.
Melbourne may not be the world’s greatest sporting capital, but it has a proven track record in doing sports business better than most of the globe’s major cities.
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