Nordic Event Hosts meeting is to stay – together we are stronger 

The Nordic Event Hosts meeting gathered several Host Cities in Oslo, Norway, on January 24–25, 2024. Hosted by Visit Norway, this meeting marked a first of its kind, with Sport Event Management Finland (SEMF) being one of the collaborating organisers and collector for the Finnish Host Cities. Other collaborators were Visit Stockholm and Göteborg&Co. 

The meeting’s focus was on bidding and hosting international events, with the aim of exploring areas for increased collaboration and exchanging experiences at a Nordic level. Finland is, and has been, a country and nation capable of organising large, well-known international events with our strong expertise and high-quality infrastructure and facilities. Yet, there is always room to learn and develop. 

Major sports events are on the horizon, and we are competing against other Host Cities around the World for the honour of being The Host. It’s important to recognize our advantages, what to emphasise, and how to succeed when it’s time to bid. 

Cooperation is the key: finding ways to succeed

“Finland is a small country in the world of event markets, and so are the Nordics. For this reason, even more, we must support each other across national borders, so that we become a stronger and more attractive field for impactful, international events”, says Jani Backman, Project Director of SEMF. 

Birgitte Nestande, who works with cultural and sports events in Innovation Norway – Visit Norway, couldn’t agree more. There are opportunities for closer cooperation between the Nordic countries. As an example of good cooperation, the 2023 Women’s Handball World Cup was jointly hosted by Norway, Denmark, and Sweden.  

“For Norway’s part, we don’t necessarily have the facilities and capacity to host the biggest matches. The risk can be distributed across different countries, allowing Norway to organise something we normally would not have the opportunity to do. During the World Championship in 2023, the group matches were played in Stavanger and Trondheim, while the remaining matches and finals were held in Gothenburg and Herning”, Nestande says. 

The meeting was an excellent platform for Host Cities to have further planning sessions for events that have already been won. 

“In 2025, Herning and Stockholm will jointly host the Men’s Ice Hockey World Championship, and now during the meeting, they had a separate session to plan for improved cooperation for the planning and execution of the event”, Nestande adds.  

Remarkable insight through measuring

One agenda part of the meeting was measuring the impact of events: economic impact calculations, common Key Performance Indicators defined by the OECD/IAEH, sustainability, and evaluation. The true potential of measuring impact has yet to be utilised. 

This part featured Aila Ahonen from Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences, who presented a unified research method developed in collaboration with SEMF for Finnish events. It has been used in several events, and the results have been remarkable, showing a significant economic ripple effect in the areas where the events took place. 

Finding effect ways – the work continues

With numerous sports events taking place worldwide, collaboration at the Nordic level is important if we wish to win bids for events. Finding ways to support each other, executing cross-marketing on Nordic groups, and participating in joint international activities are strategies to maintain competitiveness. 

The first Nordic Event Hosts meeting was an insightful deep dive in relaxed atmosphere, discussing potential strategies for improvement. We will continue our active collaboration because only together we can be stronger – the goal has been set.

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