Latest Conrad Humphreys Blog: How can Plymouth ensure it creates a social and economic legacy from hosting the ACWS?

Latest Conrad Humphreys Blog: How can Plymouth ensure it creates a social and economic legacy from hosting the ACWS?

Monday April 4 2011 Author: conrad Location: United Kingdom

The acting Chief Executive of Plymouth City Council, Anthony Payne and each of the city partners that met behind closed doors with the America’s Cup management team to hammer out a deal for the 2nd leg of the America’s Cup World Series are to be congratulated for taking such an important and bold step. This decision has already generated significant return with positive press coverage and commentary spreading around the globe. We have been tracking the coverage since Friday and the results have been very positive for a city that is in the midst of a new rebranding exercise.

The big challenge now is to ensure that the America’s Cup event, which is less than 6 months away, creates a lasting positive social and economic impact for the City. Not an easy task, given that there likely to be limited resources planned for legacy objectives and the incredibly short timescales will prove challenging for all but the most enterprising of  businesses that can react quickly to the opportunity .  I have been quite vocal in the past that Plymouth needs to start focusing more on developing a long term event strategy that supports its economic objectives, rather than simply reacting to every event that comes along needing support. Central to this is identifying those significant events that really support economic reform and then securing long term, multi-year contracts so that the events can be properly aligned across multiple agendas (social, economic, environment, media etc).

Securing a major event with just a few months left to maximise the opportunities would normally be considered a crazy investment. However, on this occasion, winning the right to host an America’s Cup leg is, I believe a very shrewd move for Plymouth. Despite the high profile political turmoil and the recent revolutionary switch to high speed, solid wing sail catamarans, the America’s Cup remains one of four “Holy Grails” of sailing (the others being the Olympic Games, Volvo Ocean Race and the Vendee Globe) and a premier international sporting event. To have secured even a small piece of this Event and its history, will cement the City of Plymouth into the inner circle and will open the doorway for new opportunities in the future. The challenge now for Plymouth, will be to react swiftly to maximise the long term opportunities that this investment now offers.

Plymouth has won this bid on the strength of its natural assets and its experience at hosting large events on the Hoe. It must now play to its strengths and use the significance of this announcement to really drive the much needed social and economic reform. Yes, Plymouth does have its shortfalls, it isn’t Porto Fino or the Algarve, but what it does have is a unique venue that enables tens of thousands of people to share in the action and a sailing arena that rivals anywhere in the world. 

So what should be at the top of the Agenda for this Monday morning’s emergency event meeting? My suggestion, would be to focus on one single achievable legacy objective that aligns with the vision for the waterfront and get out there and tell the world that Plymouth, the Original is open for business.

Add a comment - Members log in

You can ...

Ads from conrad