The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games have arrived. Access looks at the city’s preparations, the Games’ sponsors, and the buzz from everyone involved.
After months and years of planning, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow are finally upon us. As Glasgow prepares for what the city hopes to be its crowning jewel in a year of cultural celebrations, the world is looking to see what the Scottish events industry will showcase.
By all accounts, the city is buzzing. With an expected global viewing audience of around 1.5 billion, up to 1 million ticket holders expected, 4,500 athletes participating and more than 2,500 journalists covering Glasgow 2014, it is an exciting time for all involved.
“With less than 50 days to go, excitement is building as we get closer to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games,” Glasgow 2014’s chief executive David Grevemberg told Access. “There is still much hard work to be done, but, through the support of our Games Partners, our volunteers and the people of Glasgow and Scotland, we are in a fantastic position.”
Everything is ready, with volunteers in place, venues finished, and Official Sponsors and Partners confirmed. The only thing left to do is get the athletes in Glasgow and the Opening Ceremony performed.
As Access reported in March, Hampden Park – serving as the main stadium and venue for both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies – underwent a massive revamp to get it ready for the Games.
The Scottish national football stadium has been dramatically transformed into a state of the art athletics venue by Scottish construction company Malcolm Construction. Raising the surface by more than six feet, a world first in construction, the old football pitch is nowhere to be seen, replaced by a running track and green grass for other events.
Other venues around Glasgow have also undergone minor changes to get ready for the Games. The most flashy of these has to be the SECC campus – which boasts the award-winning SSE Hydro, the SECC Exhibition Halls and the Clyde Auditorium. The SECC campus is hosting several events, including Gymnastics, Boxing, Judo, Netball, Wrestling and Weightlifting/Powerlifting. It will also house the International Broadcast Centre and the main Press Centre throughout the Games.
Getting the job done
Official Sponsors and Partners of Glasgow 2014 are pledging to help make the Games the most successful ever. With only a few hiccups along the way, it looks like those promises will be made good from 23 July to 3 August.
Ticketmaster is the Official Ticketing Services Provider for Glasgow 2014. The international ticketing company hit a roadbump when sales first opened in May.
About 60,000 tickets had been sold when the entire ticketing system crashed. Call centres and online forms (on both Ticketmaster’s and Glasgow 2014’s websites) did not process transactions from a 10,000 ticket release. The release was evidently too much for the system as delays and problems with transactions almost immediately ensued.
The ticketing websites and call centres for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games were closed down and remained so for a week as Ticketmaster and the Organising Committee scrambled to find and fix the problem.
Meanwhile, customers hoping to purchase tickets were greeted on those websites with messages apologising for the closure and reassurances that sales would continue soon.
The chief executive of Glasgow 2014 apologised “unreservedly” in a statement. “We will not allow the frustrations continued by our customers throughout the last day and a half to continue further,” he said.
The ticketing fiasco was remedied seven days later, with both telephone and online sales running smoothly.
Ticketmaster’s previous involvement with major sporting events has included two of the last three Commonwealth Games and previous Olympic and Paralympic Games. The company also sold over 10.9 million tickets for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Atos, the information technology services company, is in the midst of delivering the Games’ management and information technology systems.
“The stadia are impressive, the ticket sales are outstanding and it is our job to ensure that the Games Management Systems and Games Information Systems live up to the standards expected of a modern day Games in today’s technology driven world,” said Gavin Thomson, Atos’ senior vice president in Scotland.
The company, which has worked for more than two decades on the Olympic and Paralympic Games around the world, marked the countdown to Glasgow 2014 by promising to help power athletes’ performances using their support systems.
At Games’ time, a dedicated team of 60 business technologists will be working behind the scenes in Glasgow. Supported by a team in the Atos international events headquarters in Barcelona and Madrid, the comapny will deliver an unprecedented level of technical support to Glasgow 2014.
Atos is also an Official Supporter, Atos has been working closely with the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee for over two years to deliver essential Games management and information systems, including the volunteer portal, the Games’ workforce management system, the accreditation management system and the Games’ information systems.
Atos’ Games’ management system and Games information systems has supported the Glasgow 2014 team in the recruitment of the 15,000 volunteers and will, in real-time, provide accurate information and results for each of the athletes participating at each stage of competition, in each of the Games’ 17 sports to worldwide media organisations, sports officials and websites.
“The whole event is highly visible with the world watching,” Thomson said. “It’s where victory is measured by the smallest margin, and for us there are no second chances.”
The weight of the challenge was emphasised even further by Brian Nourse, Glasgow 2014’s chief information officer. The Official Partners and suppliers must all work seamlessly together, as well as with the technology team and the Games’ Organising Committee. Gathering all involved was, understandably, a massive task – but Nourse reiterated that “the final preparations for the delivery of the Games are well underway.
“We’re confident that the significant level of planning and testing already undertaken will help ensure the technology solutions being deployed by Atos for the Games are on track to meet the expectations of all involved.”
Representing the Scottish side, Aggreko will supply temporary power and temperature control services at the Games. They recently unveiled a specially commissioned artwork generator to celebrate the Games, which will become a familiar feature for spectators outside many of the stadia and venues.
The company will supply their temporary power services to 29 competition and non-competition Games venues, including several stadia, the operations centre and Athletes’ Village. Aggreko will also supply the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) at The SSE Hydro.
“We are deeply proud of our roots as a Scottish business with a truly global presence,” said Angus Cockburn, Aggreko’s interim chief executive officer. “We now operate in more than 100 countries, but Glasgow remains the centre of that business.
“Glasgow 2014 will celebrate all that is Scotland, Glasgow and the Commonwealth Games and we are determined that it brings Scottish businesses and communities together.”
With so much forward preparation, all that’s left to happen is the Games themselves.
“Our vision,” Grevemberg said, “is to create a world class stage for elite athletes of the Commonwealth, generate enormous pride in Glasgow and Scotland, and leave a lasting legacy.”
That should be no problem. This is Glasgow rising.