IV PROGRESS SINCE MARCH 2001
- The previous Committee were told that the target for revenue from ticket sales was a modest £5 million to ensure "full stadia at fair prices". This strategy of keeping ticket prices affordable, the cheapest being £5, seems to have paid off. As at 3 May, the figures provided by M2002 to the Committee showed that 66.5 per cent of the total tickets available to the UK public had been sold, at an average of 1,000 tickets each day since they first went on sale. Some 148,314 of the tickets had been sold online or by telephone. The Committee has also been given details of festival "live sites" within Manchester, where screens would show live sporting events, for those who cannot obtain or afford tickets to the venues. At these sites, there will also be a programme of live entertainment, during the sporting events and after, for those making their way home from the games.
- The Manchester Commonwealth Games have already proved to be the most successful Commonwealth Games, in terms of advance ticket sales, in history, and M2002 expects to see even greater results once the anticipated intense marketing campaign in June and July gets underway. We consider that M2002 should be congratulated for developing an inclusive ticketing and entertainment strategy, and we look forward to receiving future updates from M2002 on ticket sales levels, particularly those from venue outlets and the sale of community ticket packages.
- In January 2001, the Games had four official sponsors and two official partners, and the previous Committee raised concerns about the reliance of M2002 upon services as a main component of sponsorship income, rather than sponsorship income in monetary form.
- To date, the Games have secured ten official sponsors, and eight official partners, with more expected to sign up over the coming months. M2002 had suffered a set-back in Autumn 2001 from the collapse of Atlantic Telecom, a principal sponsor of the Games, which resulted in a release of a significant sum from the contingency fund. Whilst M2002 can be commended for attracting high-profile sponsors since the loss of Atlantic Telecom, much of the sponsorship obtained is sponsorship-in-kind.
Marketing and Merchandise
- The previous Committee expressed concern that Commonwealth Games merchandising was almost invisible, and that there was no discernible brand identity. The Committee used the Sydney Olympic games example of high-profile merchandising being available in shops 18 months before the start of the Games themselves, and were concerned that M2002 was not making a great enough effort to enhance national awareness of the Commonwealth Games through merchandising.
- The joint memorandum stated M2002's strategy was to increase awareness of the Games, and included the "One year to go" campaign, and the widely publicised start of the Jubilee Baton Relay from Buckingham Palace in March 2002. The Committee learned that more funding has been invested in the marketing and communications team, to bring it to full staffing levels and to prepare for the final push towards late ticket sales and increasing brand awareness.
- The joint memorandum details the links which have been made with national tourism bodies to promote the Games this year. The British Tourism Authority and the London Development Agency have been named as keen to support the overall marketing effort for the Games. This effort has been reflected in the levels of tickets sales in areas of the UK outside the North West of England, particularly the South East, which has accounted for over 23 per cent of sales. Despite public attention being focused on the World Cup, the Committee expects to see greater promotion of the Games nationwide: both in the final months before the opening ceremony and continuing to the closing of the Games.
- Since September 2001, the Commonwealth Games had over 50 licensees committed to the merchandising programme, which will contain 8 ranges of merchandise, and over 500 products, which we have been told will be of high quality and affordably priced. We understand that as well as in three stores in the Greater Manchester area, products would be available by mail order, and e-commerce. Major high street retailers had also agreed to sell Games products in their stores nationwide. Whilst the latest news from M2002 is encouraging, we recommend that M2002 opens further storesor promote its product lines in stores outside Manchesterparticularly in international airports, to gain maximum exposure of the Games brand. We consider that M2002 should build on the major UK brands already included as licensees and ensure that Games merchandising lives up to the promises of customer satisfaction and national awareness of the products available. We believe that the measures for the success of the marketing department should include product sales figures.
- The joint memorandum acknowledges that the quality of accommodation in the athletes' village had been variable. The previous Committee had been told that M2002 was keen to match the standards of the previous Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur and the Olympic Games in Sydney. With the need, post September 11th, to maintain rigorous security in the village, a range of measures have been agreed to improve the quality of accommodation at the same time. These include moving to single occupancy rooms within existing provision and expanding onto an adjacent site. The cost of these improvements has yet to be published but capital works are already underway.
- Mr Allen, Chairman of M2002, suggested that a difficulty faced by Commonwealth Games organisers was that, unlike the Olympic Games, official participant numbers were not fixed from the start by the Commonwealth Games Federation. Instead M2002 has had to prepare accommodation and transport for an unknown number of athletes and officials from some countries, and will not have final numbers of all official participants until almost the start of the Games in July 2002. It remains a key challenge for M2002 to accommodate the Games family, and the Committee is reassured that M2002 is working to develop the necessary plans for overflow accommodation. It is for M2002 to recommend changes in Games practice to the Commonwealth Games Federation and we would expect to see such recommendations as part of the Legacy document prepared by M2002 after the Games.
- The joint memorandum outlined the strategy developed by M2002 in partnership with GMPTE, MCC, GMP, the Highways Agency and the Government Office for the North West. The strategy includes: a transport system delivering spectators from the main public transport terminals, and park and ride sites, to the venues; enhanced local bus, rail and Metrolink services during the late evenings; and park and walk sites. Dedicated walking routes and effective traffic management measures are also to be created. Most importantly, we understand that the strategy includes a major communications programme, using volunteers with local knowledge, an advertising campaign, spectator guides, call centres and information sites at locations around the city, which will aid the public in finding the most suitable transport for their needs, will highlight the lack of parking spaces for the public at venues, and will encourage the public to use the alternative modes of transport available.
- Games family transport has also been included in the strategy. We learned from Mr Allen that organisers of the Sydney Olympics had stressed the importance of well planned transport scheduling for athletes and officials. The joint memorandum stated that the delivery of the transport strategy is on schedule, with the necessary contracts awarded, and that traffic management works are underway. We understand that trial runs, testing timing and manpower needed to deliver the transport strategy, are underway. We believe that the effective implementation of M2002's transport strategy is vital to a safe and enjoyable Games. We welcome the measures that have been taken by M2002 so far to tackle the challenge of the huge numbers of visitors expected at the events.
- We understand that all the facilities are now complete and have been handed over to the specialist operators for test events. Venue operating plans will be developed and refined during the time running up to the Games, and also throughout the Games following detailed debriefing sessions held after each event. The testing, including walk-throughs designed to provide information on the experience for athletes, the media, VIPS and the public, will no doubt identify problems and gaps in the plans, which will be the purpose of such tests. The Committee acknowledges that many of the venues have already been used for sporting events and are encouraged that detailed operating tests are planned for those not yet in use.
37 HC (2000-01) 286, para 102 Back
38 Ev 2 and 7 Back
39 Ev 7 Back
40 Ev 4 Back
41 Ev 2 Back
42 HC (2000-01) 286, para 101 Back
43 Ev 7, and HC (2000-01) 286, p 180 Back
44 Ev 5 Back
45 HC (2000-01) 286, para 101 Back
46 HC (2000-2001) 286, para 103 Back
47 Ev 3 Back
48 Ev 3 Back
49 Ev 3 Back
50 Ev 3 Back
51 Ev 3 Back
52 Ev 3 Back
53 HC (2000-01) 286, para 89 Back
54 Ev 2 Back
55 Ev 2 Back
56 Ev 3 Back
57 Ev 3 Back
58 Ev 2 Back
59 Ev 2 Back