Do international sports competitions and MICE works together?

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Do international sports competitions and MICE works together?

Do international sports competitions and MICE works together?

World Cups, Olympic Games … international sports events unleash the passions and have always had a considerable impact on the destinations that welcome them. Positive or negative, these large-scale events have consequences for the global economy of the host country, as well as for its MICE activity.


The positive

1. First of all, the image of the destination. A city or a country that hosts an international sports competition could benefit from an image of open-mindedness, attractiveness, professionalism in the hosting of international events, flexibility, adaptation to precise and restrictive specifications, so many qualities needed for a country as sought by event organizers. In summary, a destination that successfully hosts an event of this magnitude will be able to accommodate incentives, seminars, conventions and congresses.

« open-mindedness, attractiveness, professionalism »


2. Second advantage: visibility. Hosting a World Cup or Olympic Games is a real spotlight on the host destination, as much about its landscapes as its infrastructure, architecture, heritage, population… In short, it’s THE right time for a country to highlight its best assets. And this visibility begins with the official announcement of the destination. Remember, it wasn’t so long time ago … the 13th of September 2017, designation of Paris for the organization of the 2024 Olympics Games. The entire world has its eyes fixed on the French capital. “Paris 2024” appears on all the news, a massive display campaign on the whole territory, promotional videos on TV and on social networks. Paris becomes (or becomes again) the all attention’s center, and this time in positive! Those give ideas to companies around the world to organize their events in the next Olympics city.

« real spotlight on the host destination, as much about its landscapes as its infrastructure, architecture, heritage, population »



Paris 2024 (source :


Currently, South Korea scores points with the winter Olympics Games that are going perfectly at PyeongChang. The Land of the Morning Calm further strengthens its image as a modern and innovative destination – with this new world record of drone flight with 1,218 devices that drew figures in the night during the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games –, but also a traditional and open-minded destination with this remarkable parade of the Korean delegation (North and South) under a single flag, symbol of reunification. And the “Olympics Games’” effect works: we * have already received several requests for information on the destination from French MICE agencies that would like to propose South Korea to their clients.

* * Interface MICE represents South Korea, on the French MICE market since April 2017


A record swarm of 1,218 drones draws the Olympic rings in PyeongChang (Source: Intel Corp.)


Next, Russia (2018 Football World Cup), Japan (2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Tokyo Olympics) and Qatar (2022 World Football Cup) will enjoy this craze as well.

3. Infrastructure: One of the major conditions for a country to host an international sporting event is to own sufficient and adequate infrastructure to welcome athletes, delegations and supporters. Each sporting event is accompanied by a vast investment plan, both by public authorities and private actors, to build, renovate and innovate. These events are therefore a real breath of fresh air for the host destinations.

« to build, renovate and innovate »


Scotland* is a good example. 2014 was an exceptional year for the country. In fact, the country hosted, in the same year, the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in July 2014 and the Ryder Cup at the Gleneagles hotel, two months after the Games. On this occasion, several hotels have been renovated, and many establishments have emerged, such as the SSE Hydro, a 13,000-seat arena / concert hall located next to the Glasgow convention center, where the netball’s final took place during the Games. This new modern and functional venue is now usable by event organizers. It has already hosted major awards ceremonies, or music concerts.

* Interface MICE represent VisitScotland Business Events in France since 2012


On the left the Glasgow convention center (SEC), on the right the SSE Hydro (source: The SSE Hydro)


For further in current news, the winter Olympics Games in PyeongChang allowed a clear improvement of the accessibility of some South Korea’s regions, including the opening of a new high-speed train line connecting Incheon’s airport and Seoul to the main cities where the Games take place, by reducing trips – which takes 5 hours with standard train – to 1h30 only.

KTX trip (Korean high-speed train) from Incheon Airport to PyeongChang (Jinbu Station) in only 2 hours, compared to 5h30 with a standard train (source:


The negative

Prices and availabilities: This is the main drawback. Strong demand means that prices increase. We have on the one hand the local tourism professionals who see in these events a bargain to their business; but it is known that these international sports competitions are often synonymous with a “black” period for tourists and event organizers. Indeed, the prices of hotel rooms and airline tickets can sometimes triple… if you can find any availability. Prices are soaring, and availabilities are scarce, even if you early book more than a year in advance.

« “black” period for event organizers »


As example, we can mention Abu Dhabi * and its annual Formula 1 Grand Prix in November. We always recommend event organizers to avoid this period for budget and availability reasons. Except this period, the destination is obviously perfect for incentives, seminars, congresses or other corporate events.

* Interface Tourism France represent Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority in France


Abu Dhabi’s Formula 1 Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Saturday 22 November 2014 (source:


Small exception for MICE agencies specialized in sporting events, which for this type of international competition usually have the exclusivity on the sale of tickets. The Eventeam agency is the leader on this market, which for example has been selected to be the official and exclusive agency for the sale of tickets for the winter PyeongChang’s Olympics Games.

The “bad” advertising / polemics: It’s the risk when the world focus on us. The slightest wrong step and it’s a disaster. At least in terms of “advertising”. Brazil with the 2016 Olympics Games in Rio, and Russia with the 2014 winter Olympics Games in Sochi were victims of this setback after the Olympics Games.

About a year after Rio’s Olympics Games, the economic and social situation of the city has not changed or even worsened: bankrupt state, unpaid wages and pensions, neglected public services, stadiums in ruins, insecurity … the Brazilian state is preparing an unprecedented austerity plan. A bad image for the country, and which will inevitably have an impact on the coming of the companies for their events.


The Olympic pool, February 5, 2017 (source: Démotivateur © Pilar Olivares)


Russia, for its part, has faced several controversies. Among them, the designation of the city of Sochi by the Olympic Committee against Salzburg (Austria) and PyeongChang (South Korea) which had dumbstruck, for budgetary reasons. Indeed, the city was starting from nothing in terms of sports infrastructure, and hadn’t modern transport, ditto for its airport. As a result, these Olympics Games have been the most expensive in history with a total bill of 37 billion euros (far away, of the 9 billion originally announced by Vladimir Putin), which naturally allow to suspicions of corruption.

Sotchi in April 2005 (source : Google Earth)


Sotchi in January 2014 (source : Google Earth)


The Olympics Games in Sochi more expensive than the all six-last winter Olympiad summed


Did you know that France is the world champion of sports events?
Over the past 25 years, France has faced several failures, but the country keep continues to host major sports competitions. The Hexagon is the only country in the world to have organized a football World Cup (1998), an Euro (2016), two rugby Word Cups (2007 and 2023) and the summer Olympics Games (2024). Cock-a-doodle-doo!

fr_1321 (noir & blanc)

Tahina Randriamandranto

Account manager MICE

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