For the fifth consecutive year, London was named the top Global Sports City in the SportCal Global Sports Cities Index.
The sports market intelligence firm provides an in-depth analysis of major multi-sport games and world championships over a rolling 14-year period, covering seven years in the past and seven years in the future. The 2016 index took in 787 events across 146 categories in 75 sports, including summer and winter Olympic sports.
London also won the Global Sports Tourism Impact Awards, which recognizes the economic impact of a city’s sports tourism sector. Travel Daily Media reports that such events as Wimbledon, the European Aquatics Championships and the Rugby World Cup contributed £539 million ($669 million) to the country’s economy.
London — which finished ahead of Rio de Janeiro (second place), Tokyo (third), Moscow (fourth) and Doha, Qatar (fifth) — has hosted or will host 13 world championships and multi-sport games over the analyzed period of 2010 to 2023. Upcoming events include the Cricket World Cup in 2019 and the EUFA Euro 2020 Championships.
Professional U.S. sports teams also are expanding their presence in London, with the NBA’s Indiana Pacers and Denver Nuggets tipping off at the O2 Arena in January and games in the NFL International Series taking place at Wembley Stadium and Twickenham earlier this year.
“London has rightly retained the title of sporting capital of the world following a great year hosting NFL at Wembley and Twickenham, Andy Murray’s great win at Wimbledon and the European Aquatics Championships at the London Aquatic Centre, to name but a few,” London Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a statement. “The Global Sports Cities Index confirms that London is open to the world for staging spectacular events.”
Earlier this year, promotion company London & Partners International announced that hosting major sporting events in London has contributed £1.6 billion ($2.1 billion) to London’s economy since that city hosted the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
Candidates for the 2024 Olympic Games also landed in the top 10 of the 2016 Sports Cities Global Index, including Paris (6th) and Budapest (7th). Los Angeles, another contender for the 2024 Olympics and the highest-ranking U.S. city, came in at 34th place.
Las Vegas (79th place), San Diego (83rd) and Mill Spring, N.C. (92nd) also landed in the top 100.
Keep in mind that as international sports travel increases and more international tournaments are scheduled, the U.S. State Department recently warned of a major slowdown in the processing times of U.S. passports.