Inbound MICEOpinion

Do international sports competitions and MICE works together?

Fashola said, “Morocco is bidding to host the 2026 World Cup, Nigeria should have jointly bid with Morocco because we can do it. “Like we did when we hosted the 2009 FIFA U17 World Cup when the gauntlet is thrown at us, we will rise to the occasion".

National sporting events like the World Cups and the Olympic Games have always had a considerable impact on the destinations that welcome them, these large-scale events have consequences for the global economy of the host country, as well as for its MICE activity.

First of the positives, is the image of the destination. A city or a country that hosts an international sporting event 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.

Secondly, visibility is a major advantage, hosting a World Cup or Olympic Games for example is a real spotlight on the host destination, as much about its landscapes as its infrastructure, architecture, heritage, population and many more. In short, it is the right time for a country to highlight its best assets. And this visibility begins with the official announcement of the destination.

Currently, Russia scores points with the FIFA World Cup hosting  that will be starting in a few weeks time.The entire world now has its eyes fixed on Russia, the country now appears on all the news, a massive display campaign on the whole territory, promotional videos on TV and on social networks. Russia 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.

Finally, Infrastructural development is also an advantage. 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.

Only recently the former Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola, has urged Nigeria to bid for the 2026 World Cup because he believes the country has what it takes to host the prestigious tournament. The 2026 World Cup will have 48 countries competing for the prestigious 4-year tournament, 16 teams more than the initial present 32-team format.

He advised that Nigeria should submit a joint bid with Morocco to host the competition, because  according to him the increased number of teams the 2026 event will witness will make it too difficult for a single country to host the tournament alone. There is currently a joint bid from the USA, Canada and Mexico, which has been submitted to World football governing body, FIFA for consideration. But President Trump’s comments on African countries and the administration’s travel restrictions on some Middle Eastern nations are reportedly hurting the U.S. bid to host the 2026 World Cup.

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