Glasgow sport has never been healthier. Despite the financial crisis at one of the city’s great sporting institutions, crowds continue to flock to stadia and arenas across the region, with participation in amateur sport also high. Following news of our inclusion in a list of the top 10 world sporting cities, Clydebank Live looked at the strength of Glasgow sport.
Ahead of places like Tokyo, Madrid, Amsterdam and Istanbul, Glasgow can seem a surprising inclusion in the list of the world’s top 10 sporting cities. The latest rankings – revealed at the Sport Business Ultimate Sports City 2012 Awards – see our city jump two places to ninth, overtaking Paris. Glasgow also retained its position as the world’s number one city for sports marketing and branding.
Gordon Matheson, the leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “Our reputation as a world leader in sport is growing year on year and it will only continue as we build towards the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
“We are developing world-class facilities, like the Commonwealth Arena and the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. This excellent result is testament to the hard work of our teams across the city and of our national partners.”
The news, announced at a convention in Quebec, is a tremendous boost to the city and the wider city-region. Held every two years since 2006, the Ultimate Sports Cities Awards are the internationally recognised rankings of the world’s top sports hosts.
Cities are ranked using criteria including the number of events held, numbers of countries involved and the calibre of events. Judges also consider the state of facilities, transport, accommodation, government support, security, legacy, public interest, quality of life, marketing and use of social media.
Glasgow’s famous football passion often causes its strength in other sports to go unnoticed. Despite a lack of media hype however, its professional clubs are well established at the top of Britain’s sporting scene. Basketball fans flock to the Kelvin Hall to see Glasgow Rocks, one of the top sides in the British Basketball League. The city’s newest professional sports team, Braehead Clan, have enjoyed incredible success for a start-up club.
Playing out of the Braehead arena, the club has challenged at to the top of the UK Elite Ice Hockey League since joining in 2010. Its home games now regularly bring in some of the biggest Glasgow sport crowds outside of Celtic, Rangers and Scotland football matches.
Kirsty Longmuir, Clan general manager, told Clydebank Live: “Glasgow is a great city for a sport like ice hockey. If you offer top-class action then the public get right behind you. The atmosphere here at Braehead is fantastic. We are renowned for being an entertaining venue, with vocal fans, across the British ice hockey circle. The Sky Sports team couldn’t believe their ears when they covered a live game at Braehead in March this year.
“It’s a big selling point when we approach players from North America and Europe. Top quality sportsmen want to play in big, sport-crazy cities with the best facilities and enthusiastic fans. We have a world-class arena and an NHL veteran as our player-coach, but the backing of the fans is extremely important to us.
“In less than two years Clan have gone from a brand new club to having crowds of more than 2,000 every week. Last season we broke the 3,000 barrier and we’re looking to keep setting records in the forthcoming season.
“Our supporters have been fantastic and make it a terrific experience for newcomers. The atmosphere is noisy but very family-friendly; ice hockey is an incredibly fast, hard-hitting sport but it has an entirely different culture from football. Glasgow is a large multicultural city, which makes it the perfect location for sport, especially ice hockey.”
Huge interest in professional sport has led to mass participation at amateur level in communities throughout Greater Glasgow, with Clydebank and neighbouring districts enjoying widespread success.
Schools throughout the area have boys’ and girls’ football teams at every age level, with state-of-the-art artificial pitches helping develop enthusiasm and talent. The new facilities helped Clydebank’s St Peter the Apostle High School under 14 boys’ football team to an incredible double last season. The side won both the Glasgow Schools’ League and the coveted Scottish Schools’ Cup.
Drumchapel’s Argo Boxing Club celebrated championships for two of its youngsters this year. Duntocher’s Jamie McLean, 12, recently became Western Scotland’s champion and Drumchapel’s Anthony Morton, 13, won the fourth Scottish title in the club’s history. Adult sports are also thriving in the area, with women’s netball a particular success story.
Clydebank club St Stephen’s finished runners-up in this year’s Glasgow Netball Association (GNA) Division One, only missing out on the title on points difference. Their local rivals, Drumchapel club Harmony Row, won the Division Two championship to earn promotion to the top flight. Interest in playing netball is so high the two clubs now enter several teams in the GNA leagues.
Back on the football field, Drumchapel United have become one of the top amateur clubs in Scotland despite only being formed in 2001. In ten years the club won five Western Premier Division titles, four West of Scotland Cups and seven other regional competitions. It also won the famous Scottish Amateur Cup in 2007 and lost the 2011 final on penalties.
Massive public interest in sport and excellent facilities make the city a top candidate for hosting major events. Earlier this month Glasgow hosted the penultimate leg of the World Series of rugby sevens. International sides from around the world took part in the two-day event at Scotstoun Stadium, with temporary stands boosting its capacity to around 15,000.
The brand-new athletics stadium, which hosts an annual contest between the Great Britain and United States international track and field teams, is set to become home to the Glasgow Warriors professional rugby union side in August. It will mean world-class rugby becomes a regular event in the north west of the city, as the club plays in a continental league with the top sides from Wales, Ireland and Italy – as well as representing Scotland in the European Cup.
Last week it emerged Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland are considering a joint-bid for the 2024 UEFA European Championships. If successful, some of the top players in the world would be at Hampden, Celtic Park and Ibrox – competing for the second most important prize in international football.
The full rankings of the Ultimate Sports City 2012 Awards:
1.London 2.Melbourne 3.Sydney 4.New York 5.Manchester
6.Singapore 7.Berlin 8.Copenhagen 9.Glasgow 10.Paris
11.Tokyo 12.Vancouver 13.Istanbul 14.Dubai 15.Madrid
16.Amsterdam 17.Doha 18.Budapest 19.Moscow 20.Kuala Lumpur
21. PyeongChang 22. Rio de Janeiro 23. Buenos Aires 24. Sochi 25. Durban
Is Greater Glasgow a great sporting city? Post your comments here, via our facebook page, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also watch a short video our team made when professional ice hockey arrived in Glasgow back in 2010.