2013 was a year to remember for the event industry, with event production experts making the most of the growing UK economy and a raft of new and emerging technologies, including 3D projection mapping and high definition video production. After the sporting summer of 2012, 2013 was rather quieter on the sporting front – except for Andy Murray’s Wimbledon victory and a couple of Ashes series. 2013 was a great year for music events, with many of pop and rock’s biggest names going on substantial world tours. The world came together with a series of memorial services following the death of Nelson Mandela, and looked on as Pope Francis was elected at Vatican City. With so many events on the horizon next year, we’re dedicating this article to take a look at the biggest sporting events of 2014.
Six Nations Championship (1st February – 15th March)
The annual competition between the six strongest rugby nations of the northern hemisphere is always one of the highlights of the rugby season. This year’s championship promises to be particularly close fought. Last year’s victors, Wales, have to build a winning team whilst their domestic rugby teams fall apart. The French, meanwhile, will be looking to bounce back after a quite frankly embarrassing 2013. What about England’s chances? Well, the squad appears to be lacking in experience, and with a number of significant injuries including Leicester stars Tom Croft and Manu Tuilagi, it might take a few games to get things together. This year’s championship sees the return of the Friday night match for the first time since 2010. Expect a fiery display, both in terms of the rugby and the pre-match flamethrowers and fireworks, when Wales and France meet on Friday the 21st of February at the Millennium Stadium. Anyone could win it – well, apart from Scotland and Italy…
Winter Olympics (7th-23rd February)
One of the first major sporting events of 2014 is the Winter Olympics, to be (rather controversially) hosted in Sochi, Russia. The event has already been heavily politicised by the hosts and the rest of the world, with many threatening to boycott the games due to Russia’s ban on ‘propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.’ Assuming that some athletes turn up to the games, we’ll have plenty to look forward to. For many Brits the Winter Olympics is the only exposure we have to winter sports such as the appropriately named skeleton (where the athlete hurtles across ice on a tea tray at up to 80 mph), curling and ski jumping. It seems that Sochi is likely to be a successful games for the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team, with a record medal haul expected.
FIFA World Cup (12th June – 13th July)
The FIFA World Cup is probably the second largest sporting event in the world after the summer Olympic Games. The 20th FIFA World Cup will be held in Brazil, featuring 64 matches between 32 countries, and, a first for the competition: goal line technology. The organisers will be hoping that the technology doesn’t have to be used to decide the big matches, but all we’re hoping for is plenty of entertaining football, the odd upset, and for England to not embarrass us. One of the more interesting venues is the Arena da Amazônia in Manaus. The construction site for the stadium has been rated zero for safety, with two construction workers falling to their deaths at the end of 2013. Manaus itself is an interesting city, constructed in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. The FIFA World Cup will undoubtedly be a highlight of the sporting year.
Tour de France 2014 (5th-27th July)
The Tour de France has ventured to the UK on several previous occasions, but this time around we get three stages, two of which are in the north of England. The route will take the best of the world’s road cyclists through Leeds, Harrogate, Ripon, York, Cambridge and London, before heading over to the continent for the remainder of the race. The traditional Paris finish will come after 21 gruelling stages and 2,272 miles.
Commonwealth Games (23rd July – 3rd August)
The 20th Commonwealth Games will take place over eleven days in Glasgow. The multisport event, unlike the Olympics, will see the Scots competing against the English. With the Scottish Independence Referendum coming only a month or so after the Games, the competition will certainly have an extra competitive edge. While it’s likely that the Scots will be far below the English in the medals table, they’ll be looking for a strong home showing. While some big-name athletes such as Jessica Ennis-Hill and Mo Farah are likely to miss the event, the Commonwealth Games promises to be one of the biggest events in the UK in 2014.
If you’re looking for an event production company to help your sport-themed or sport-inspired event to succeed, why not take a look at the services we offer? We have over 20 years experience in every aspect of event management, from set design and video production to projection mapping and equipment hire. Contact us now if you’re interested in working with us.