In one of the more notable announcements of the FINA World Aquatics Convention going on this week in Moscow, FINA President Cornel Marcelescu revealed on Tuesday that the governing body for all things aquatically competitive intended to combine the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Russia with the 2015 World Masters Championships: creating one of the largest sporting events in the world with over 15,000 participants.
That year will be the first when FINA shifts the World Masters schedule to odd-numbered years alongside the standard World Championships. The event is scheduled to begin in the same facilities immediately after the completion of the elite event, but will be billed as a “single meet”.
Initial indications implied that FINA might somehow try to schedule the meets concurrently, but now that we know that they will just be back-to-back (similarly to what USA Swimming does with Masters Nationals after Olympic Trials), it seems to be a brilliant one financially. World Championships, while always exciting, are expensive, and don’t always provide a lasting economic benefit to the host city.
Masters World Championships, however, have the potential to pump in a whole lot more money. The event attracted nearly 15,000 participants to Riccione, Italy this summer, and is expected to do the same to Montreal in 2014.
As compared to elite competitors, Masters competitors are relatively valuable. They spend money, and don’t expect a whole lot in return – a quality competition venue, a well-organized meet, good competition, and international comraderie. The translation for that for the meet hosts is low costs, and high economic benefits. Perhaps this could attract an American city to put greater effort into a hosting bid, if it could provide a better return on their investment.