Egypt is currently struggling with nation branding and its worldwide image. It is such as key issue that events such as the Narrative Summit have been created to discuss action.
In a bid to improve national branding and standing, Egypt has announced that it is planning to host major sporting events such as the 2032 Olympics and 2030 FIFA World Cup.
This isn’t the first time they’ve tried either.
Read more about it ➤ Egypt plans to host World Cup 2030
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Hosting these two major sporting events has always come with both major drawbacks and ROI for the host country. In many cases, hosting the Olympics games has either boosted economies or torn them down.
So, what could the costs and benefits be for Egypt if they win the bid to host either of the tournaments?
Pros of hosting major sporting events
Hosting major international events comes with increased recognition for both the country and the host city. This new international visibility can be used to highlight important national branding elements.
South Africa used the 2010 FIFA World Cup to display the “new post-apartheid” South Africa. China leveraged its hosting of the Olympics to open more international trade opportunities and push aside its controversial human rights record.
The increased visibility, or raised profile, can be used by Egypt in many ways. Tourism rates could be boosted after a major event, if the event is done right and through meticulous PR.
England received more than 1 visitor every second in June 2013 after the 2012 London Summer Olympics, increasing 12% over 2012.
According to economics professors Robert A. Baade, PhD, and Victor A. Matheson, PhD, bidding alone can be enough to boost the country’s branding. “[T]he very act of bidding [for the Games] serves as a credible signal that a country is committing itself to trade liberalization that will permanently increase trade flows.”
Long Term Investment
Hosting major events comes with requirements for most countries. Most notably, transportation and communication upgrades.
This type of investment by the country leaves lasting improvements, even after the event has finished.
The specialized buildings needed by the Olympics, if properly planned, can be strategically used for smaller future events such as African Cups and other international sporting events.
Better transportation and roads can help relieve traffic congestion, simplify public transport and improve efficiency. Developing these infrastructures can lead to more technological growth and better productivity for the country.
The local authorities are already working on improving public transportation but winning any of the bids could mean even more investment and improvement.
The Olympic Effect
The Olympic Effect hasn’t been fully acknowledged, but many studies have shown that there is a real boost by hosting the games or even the world cup.
The effect, or the effect of any major international event on a country, is the boosted economic growth and trade opportunities that happen due to an event.
In this “Olympic Effect” paper, the writers state “… that countries which have hosted the games seem to have exports some 30% higher… Other mega-events such as the World Cup also have large positive effects on trade.”
It also affects countries who have failed to win the bid. As said earlier, the act of publicly bidding has benefits as well.
Cons of hosting big sporting event
Large Scale Clean Up
Hosting any one of these events leads to a vast increase in publicity, which could easily turn from positive to negative.
If Egypt were to win a bid, the massive clean up of locations near the stadiums/Olympic village and major tourist attractions such as the Pyramids would cost the country millions. This would become a vital project, in order to prevent bad press and improve national branding.
Although this clean up can be used as a pro, with a strong possibility of keeping streets clean later, the costs of the massive undertaking in a short period of time could hurt the economy.
Abandoned Infrastructure and High Costs
Egypt already has 2 great stadiums capable of handling the World Cup but will need to build specialized sports structures for the Olympics.
One of the most notorious burdens of hosting the Olympics is its demand for structures that are often left in ruin. Most Olympic venues in the world are left empty and unused. This is due to bad future planning or economic issues that arise because of the event.
The high costs of these buildings and their maintenance have taken down economies.
Many experts have stated that the 2004 Athens Olympics had a major impact on Greece’s massive recession. The Olympic buildings failed to be reused after the games, and their maintenance cost the country millions, helping put it further in debt.
Egypt’s infrastructure is still developing, and it is not completely certain when it could be ready for some of the world’s biggest events.
Egypt’s ability of hosting the World Cup is good, as we already have the stadiums that would fit the massive crowds. With better infrastructure already underway, the country would be able to focus its efforts on other important elements to ensure a better national image.
However, the Olympics may be a far possibility at the moment, as the economy is still trying to find its footing with the help of the International Monetary Fund. Its impact on the economy could be long lasting.
The ministry’s future planning is still a positive step in finding ways to improve the country through PR and publicity.
What event do you think we can host? Let us know in the comments.