New report details reasons for Bergen 2017 Cycling World Cup’s bankruptcy

Bergen UCI World Championships 2017 was a public success but with large economic hangovers, says new report. Photo: TimOve/Flickr

13.12.2018

By Stine Alvad
The organisers of the UCI 2017 Road World Championships in Bergen lacked the necessary financial insight and were overly optimistic in the planning of the event, says a new report that looks into monetary and non-monetary effects of the event.

Inadequate financial control, lack of reporting procedures, poor insight into the complexity and risks associated with the staging of this type of event are some of the reasons why the local organisation behind the 2017 UCI Road World Championships (Road WC) in Bergen subsequently was declared bankrupt in March 2018, says a new report looking into the effects and experiences of the cycling world cup.

The report is made by researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, who have examined a line of effects stemming from the staging of the Road WC. The report, entitled ‘From national party to economic hangover’, looks at the event from start to finish and analyses both deviations in income and costs of the event as well as the population’s attitude towards it.

The analysis reveals that Bergen 2017 AS, as the organising committee is called, generated 25 million NOK (approx. 2.5 million euro) less in income than budgeted, while the costs rose by 30 million NOK (approx. 3 million euro). The overall socio-economic cost of hosting the event amounted to 380 million NOK (approx. 38 million euro).

According to the report, these deviations occurred because Bergen 2017 AS did not have the sufficient financial oversight resulting in large deviations in the budget.

Lack of planning and unfounded optimism
One of the underlying reasons for the bad financial development of the world championships was the lack of overall planning and structure, the report finds. In the organising group, there was a lack of experience and man-power - and little connection to people with experience in the field. The researchers behind the report also point to an ‘inherited culture’ from the Norwegian Cycling Federation where “one simply ‘improvises’, one assumes that everything will be ok and focus on best-case scenarios” as a reason for the committee's problems.

Looking at the Road WC event, the report presents a number of recommendations for future hosts of similar events, which include setting up stricter requirements for the bidders, securing an organising committee that through its size and competences is robust enough to handle all tasks, and focusing on critical analysis and realistic expectations instead of being distracted by emotional objectives.

The report finds the organisation of the race “incomplete”, but the local population’s attitude towards Bergen hosting the event has generally been positive and surveys show that people from Bergen have felt proud about their city as a host. In fact, the positive attitude rose during and after the event. Ahead of the race, 50% of the respondents found that hosting the event was positive and, one year after the event, this number had risen to 67%.

In spite of the positive feeling towards the event and Bergen as a host, less than half of the respondents think that the city should bid to host a similar event in the future.

”While you can sometimes be very happy about an experience, you can also be so filled up with it that you do not want to repeat it,” the concluding remark in the report suggests…

Read the report (in Norwegian with English summary)

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