February 06, 2008

Worlds apart

I had heard rumours that the RSPBA was entertaining offers for the World Championships, and yesterday’s news that Glasgow’s bid for 2010-’12 was accepted was both anticipated and surprising.

Despite inquiries, no information from 45 Washington Street was received regarding the matter. I’d imagine the Glasgow Herald and BBC Scotland got the scoop because they cover Glasgow City Council matters, and this is most assuredly an important one.

Glasgow reckons that the World’s over those three years will bring in upwards of ₤10-million into the city’s economy. Perhaps that includes additional revenues from the Piping Live! Festival, which coincides with the contest, but, either way, it’s a crap-load of money.

I’d imagine that the Piping Live! folks are breathing easier now that they know the contest will remain in Glasgow but, then again, I think that festival could stand up without being intertwined with the World’s.

If the World’s is worth ₤10-million over three years, then it would follow that Glasgow’s “bid” for the rights, in addition to proposals about the venue, accommodation and coach parking, would include a good chunk of money. I assume (the only thing to do if an organization doesn’t provide details) it goes directly into the association’s coffers.

Factoring in organizational and marketing costs, there’s no doubt a tidy sum that could be dispersed to the bands themselves for prize- and travel-money (if they offered such a thing). Add into that remuneration to the performers, as per the law, for the World’s recordings, and it could mean good things for the bands that make it happen.

But what about the bidding process? Was it open to any city interested in hosting the World’s? Were, say, Vancouver, Sydney, Auckland, Toronto, or even Edinburgh approached? Las Vegas is alleged to have $1-million ready to put towards a pipe band contest, so what about them?

There continues to be this massive disconnect between the passion of the competitors and the business of the World’s. Yesterday’s news makes the time better than ever for the event’s organizers to bring things together, and give back to the artists that make the whole thing possible.




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