The record $1.2 billion Sochi has raised from sponsors may be a new commercial record for Olympic venues but it is a drop in the ocean compared to the $30 bn that the Russian government has earmarked for the construction of sporting stadia and facilities, roads, railroads, tunnels and new hotels. Dmitry Chernyshenko, the president and CERO of the Sochi 2014 organising committee is committed to the legacy the games will leave for his native city of Sochi on the Black Sea coast.
“It is the equivalent of building a new city for 150,000 residents from scratch,” he says of the massive construction work going on. “The deadlines are certain, the commitment is strong. It is not just about steel and concrete, but about the intangible legacy of intellectual property,” that the Games are bringing to Sochi, the Krasnodar region and the entire Russian Federation he emphasises.
From creating new standards and project management techniques that have passed into national practice to introducing the concept of volunteerism, Sochi 2014 is proud of its achievements. The concept of creating a new motor and railway road linking the coastal venues to the mountain venues is also being incorporated into the seven new resorts being created along the Caucasus Mountain range linking mountain ski resorts withneach facilities on the shores of the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea.
Alexander Zhukov, the President of the Russian Olympic Committee and a former Deputy Prime Minister, echoes Chernyshenko. “Sochi has already become a year-round resort while Kazan, (which will host the World University Games next summer) has become a hospitality hub,” he told the Global Sports Industry Congress in London last week.
There are at least seven international sporting events scheduled for Russia between the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow in 2013 to the 2018 Soccer World Cup for which 13 cities are competing for a place on the roster to host matches. The final list of 12 selected cities will be announced in September. That will unleash a massive programme of infrastructure development according to Zhukov as new airports, high speed rail links, an up to dater hotel network and sports stadia will have to be completed on time.
Zhukov told the sports congress the reason Russia was so keen to host so many sporting events was that such major events were an impetus to children to adopt a healthy lifestyle, a legacy of renewed facilities and infrastructure after decades of neglect with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and an economic boost to the regions where such events are staged.
Like Chernyshenko, Zhukov emphasised Russia anticipated reaping tangible and intangible benefits from the series of events which include the World Summer University Games in Kazan in 2013 and the Ice Hockey World Cup in 2016.
He said the government was seeking to “take the opportunity to build an intellectual legacy.”
He spoke of a skills upgrade, and said the intention was to take the learning and apply it to other industries. The relationship between the Sochi local organising committee and PwC, the advisory practice working with both Sochi 2014 and Kazan 2013 local organising committees, Rostelcom the telecommunications company and Coca-Cola beverage company went beyond sponsorship to a “partner club mindset.”