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In the ultra-competitive sports event-hosting sector, Denmark has punched above its weight for several years, attracting numerous top-tier championships to the Scandinavian country.
Only last month, Herning secured the International Equestrian Federation’s (FEI’s) 2022 World Championships versus strong competition from Italy and Saudi Arabia, with the national Sport Event Denmark bidding and hosting agency once again helping to drive the triumph.
The fan experience for all visitors to events – and not just the ticket-holders – has become a core part of the offering, providing an authentic taste of a country that is a major player on the global sporting stage despite having a population of less than six million people.
“Fans are the focal point of an excellent experience,” Sport Event Denmark CEO Lars Lundov tells us. “The festivities around the major, international sporting events staged in Denmark have become a label of the genuine Danish DNA and, for these attractions, fans don’t need a ticket.
“Fan zones have become vital for any major international event in Denmark. At the IHF Men’s World Handball Championship 2019, fans and spectators met in a multi-cultural atmosphere. Initiatives to engage and involve the fans are part of the event set-up, as well as an easy commute, fast service at food trucks and good communication.
“Last year, Denmark hosted the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships with massive crowds of fans having a great time in the fan zones. These fan zones were designed to host fans with and without tickets for the games, and there were plenty of music, games, food and drinks.”
Having amassed considerable experience in event-hosting over recent years, Sport Event Denmark is well aware of the importance of a close collaboration with other stakeholders; especially the host city and the sport’s international federation.
“In terms of enhancing fan experience at the events, we concentrate on what makes sense for a given event, and we do build on the experiences gained previously,” Lundov said. “We set up expectations together with the international federation, and we design the fan experience accordingly.”
The festivities in the pipeline for events like UEFA Euro 2020, for example, will ensure a month-long celebration on the streets of Copenhagen, which will be one of the host cities for the pan-continental tournament. With the UEFA Festival in town, Denmark’s picturesque capital city will become a hub of arts, culture and music, all on the sidelines of the main event, the football.
Similarly, in 2021, the Grand Départ of cycling’s Tour de France will keep the festival wheels spinning, with the first three stages of the event taking place in Denmark. Meanwhile, in 2022, sailing’s Ocean Race will arrive in Aarhus, with a ‘Fly-By’ of the city by the fleet set to draw in tens of thousands of spectators following the success in the city of the final leg of the 2017-18 race.
The common denominator across all of these sought-after sporting spectacles, is that they are open to everyone – and not just those who have tickets for the occasion itself.
For example, as Lundov says in relation to the arrival of the Tour de France in 2021: “Fans don’t need a ticket to experience first-hand Denmark as a cycling nation and destination. Bring your bike and join the crowds of celebrating spectators along the course.
“Again, with the Ocean Race, fans don’t need a ticket to join the party; just come as you are and celebrate and have a great time on the docks in Aarhus.
“The common fan experience theme throughout the events we partner with is an invitation to join in and contribute to the festive celebration of the sport – inside the venue, but even more importantly, in fan zones and in the streets of the host city.”