World Stage Eludes Windsor

If Windsor thinks it is on its way to being a world leading sports venue, simply on the basis of hosting a minor FINA swimming event, it is mistaken. Although FINA was minor, it cost some $20 million, but still failed to win world acclaim.

Nor did the event fill the east end arena, temporarily transformed into a natatorium. It should have been a warning to City Council. The mayor’s dream of being world significant is neither affordable nor doable.

Windsor should look at Glasgow.

The Scottish city is somewhat of a phenomenon. Last year, industry authority SportBusiness, in its biennial Ultimate Sport City Awards, placed the city on the Clyde in fifth place, just ahead of Olympic City Calgary. Glasgow’s website talks of it continuing, “… its meteoric rise up the global rankings of the world’s top sporting cities.”

If Glasgow is any indication, Windsor, which can barely keep its roads intact, is whistling in the dark. Glasgow has shown that hard work trumps bravado.

Glasgow, which set out to be a world sports hub, captured the 2014 Commonwealth Games. In the same year, Windsor hosted a scaled-down Ontario Summer Games and couldn’t handle the usual number of sports.

Glasgow has about 600,000 residents. Last year, it hosted two Davis Cup events, the IPC Swimming World Championships, and the FIG World Gymnastics Championships, which attracted around 80,000 spectators during the 10-day spectacle.

Windsor has nothing large enough to house 80,000 fans.

Unlike Glasgow, the city on the Detroit spent millions on a disposable swimming pool. It is money gone forever.

Glasgow has invested, not spent, “… close to £200 million building new and improved sports venues such as the Emirates Arena, which has helped us attract some of the world’s biggest and best events. But we never live on past glories in Glasgow and are already looking forward to the 2017 World Badminton Championships and the 2018 European Championships.”

Windsor comes up considerably short on the criteria needed to impress the SportBusiness expert judging panel. It does not have the venues and it is doubtful Windsor’s smaller tax base could finance what Glasgow has done.

Windsor didn’t even have enough buses to meet FINA’s needs while Glasgow has a subway system. Every city west of Toronto in Ontario is working on a fixed path rapid transit system, but not Windsor.

Windsor did not have enough hotel rooms for FINA. Nor does it have an event strategy capability. FINA’s workers were all imported.

Windsor does not have the quality of life of a Glasgow; a 1990’s designated European Capital of Culture.

Windsor has no marketing and promotional ability or branding. Its city logo proves that fact.

Not having the venues, infrastructure, or human competence will not stop Windsor from continuing to spend precious taxpayer dollars to be self-important. In his April Biz X article, interim mayor Drew Dilkens claimed sports tourism keeps, “… Windsor playing on the world stage.”

Of course, he offered no proof.

About the Author

Robert Tuomi
After initially succeeding as a broadcast journalist and achieving senior level assignments, Robert branched out into marketing communications. As a senior executive, primarily in the high-tech industry, Robert created award-winning and comprehensive, multi-faceted initiatives to enhance sales and expand market awareness for some of the largest companies in their fields. Email Robert Tuomi