OP-ED: Why Playing The Long Game Reaps Rewards

21 Oct 2021

By: Sport Industry Group

"Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships." - Michael Jordan


Across the broad spectrum of life, both professional and private, the best partnerships are based on trust and mutual long-term benefits. Every relationship should have a common purpose with incentives to drive this objective.

In the event industry, we usually deal in short contractual cycles. Longevity, when it occurs, is typically the result of an ad-hoc arrangement rather than a long-term strategic partnership.

But such a lack of strategic engagement within the supply chain often leaves clients open to a multitude of risks.

A change in supplier can lead to constant re-invention, and an inability to maximise on lessons learnt from previous events. A lack of data collection and an ineffective transfer of knowledge also hampers the review process, whilst sustainability objectives are often neglected and unfulfilled.

This risk can be financial, too, including cost fluctuations, unpredictable budget reassurances and, ultimately, reduced revenues. Not to mention the drain on internal resources through re-engaging suppliers and people.

Now our industry is, quite rightly, focusing sharply on how we can be more sustainable; a paradigm shift in the way we implement events. And that goal has allowed us to re-consider the relationship within the supply chain.

Looking Long Term

After analysing the above, it’s clear that the mutual strategic, operational and tactical aims can all be improved when viewed through the lens of a long-term partnership, as opposed to a short-term view, which is more expensive and lacks the foresight to create a truly sustainable enterprise.

The Commonwealth Games Federation has been the first to take such a truly long-term view, with foresight over three Games cycles – 12 years.  To triple the length of the event contract generates huge benefits to all parties: rights holder, host, and supplier.

Along with knowledge retention, this set-up provides for more robust relationships between the Federation and its contractors, the ability to properly develop the brand with a long-term vision in mind and to invest in people and their long-term development.

Beyond that, it enables sustainability and re-use to be embedded within the 12-year strategy, with constant improvements made in materials and processes, and the recycling of equipment and hardware. That is where the future of sustainable events truly lies.

Here at CSM Live, our skills and expertise lie in Look, Wayfinding and Signage, which comes with challenges that are unique to our sector. For instance, the visual identity, or brand, of a specific Games is routinely only used once, and we constantly find ourselves looking at how this identity can be extended, and how we can re-use products and materials to create circularity through the whole project cycle.

Therefore, a long-term relationship between the host communities (current and next) and the wider Games Family presents a huge opportunity.

The model can also be extended across the temporary overlay sector: allowing investment in higher resolution low power screens, hydrogen powered generators, water purification or enhanced project management process and technologies. The common purpose is efficiency, helping to reduce costs and improve productivity.

As Commonwealth Games Federation Partnerships, CEO David Leather says, “CGF Partnerships (CGFP) identifies sustainable, long-term commercial partnerships that benefit the delivery of both current and future Commonwealth Games. CGFP has embedded resources integrated throughout the Birmingham 2022 delivery teams, who bring previous Games expertise and generate commercial income for the Games through corporate partnerships, TV rights, licensing, and merchandise sales. 

“CSM Live has a very experienced team who have a strong track record of successful delivery of Look, Wayfinding and Signage for the Commonwealth Games, and I am delighted that they are coming on board for Birmingham 2022 as part of a longer-term partnership. CSM Live will use their expertise to support our shared ambition of delivering the most sustainable Commonwealth Games to date.”

“Never before have those supplying into the events industry been under this much scrutiny to put on their most “sustainable event” to date. Fans, consumers, rights holders and the media expect sustainability to be the norm, and quite rightly so. A long-term partnership allows this to happen, and we at CSM are excited to embark on this journey with CGF Partnerships as we look ahead to delivering the next three Commonwealth Games. Our expertise and knowledge in this space make us the ideal partner and we look forward to ensuring sustainability is at the forefront of all our minds as we plan ahead to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.”

These long-term relationships will take time to evolve, but once they are in play, the benefits will be direct and substantial. Strategically it makes sense; operationally it is achievable, and the tactical advantages will save money and time. It’s a win-win for all involved.

Written by CSM Live