So what’s popular?

So what's popular?
Depends, doesn't it?  On what though?  And how well do you tap your business into the trending ideas, the new money spinners, the growth markets … and ultimately your clients' 'front of mind'?

Some recent successes range from Lady Gaga to Byron Bay Blues Fest and Woodford Music Festival. Even though some music gigs, some long-standing, are having trouble keeping alive, these are going from strength to strength.
Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, and Auckland, are reporting record successes in attracting new business exhibitions and conferences – a clear sign of new confidence in the market.

Boutique ice cream brands are having a ball here and in the US. Similarly, craft beers and mini brewers are stealing lots of valuable ground from the larger and maybe slower established labels. We like to treat ourselves, it seems. But some luxury brands are doing it tough, relatively suddenly, especially in the market that was supposed to be providing their cream, China. That may be related to a view that people there don't now want to be seen as too expansive.

The stories across sports are a melange. The IOC is heading for record TOP sponsors and broadcast rights incomes – and trying to work out what's going wrong with their games bidding processes, after Oslo and others pulled out of the 2022 Winter games contest.
FIFA ain't doing too bad either. But hang on, Adidas is set to sell off Reebok after some dreadful years…an investor group that includes Jynwel Capital and funds affiliated with the Abu Dhabi government plans a $2.2 billion bid to buy Reebok (Wall Street Journal).

Golf in the US is having major problems keeping it's position with many golf courses closing. Major League Baseball viewing in the US seems to be on the skids…yes, in the US, that home of the game!  Rugby in Australia is struggling to keep its head above water, with spectator numbers hard to ramp up. Gold Coast is troubled by the drop-off in live football games attendance at local venues.

Still, big venues for sports, arts, exhibitions and conferences are in vogue and in nearly every 'corner' you'll see developments of quite some note. These range from the recently opened venues used for the Incheon Asian Games and the Singapore Sports Hub to many new major stadia in the US, and for example, in Baku for the 2015 European Games; the new Shanghai Exhibition and Conference venue, a massive clover leaf, very iconic, design.

from L to R: Incheon; Baku; Singapore

I'm a 'build it and they will come' guy although there must be some sensibility and reality attached. Look at the sad array in Athens. Even in Beijing, re-use of facilities and stadia, after the 2008 Olympics, has turned some new leaves. Interesting that in London, the 'remake' of their Olympic Stadium into a home for football has turned into an unexpectedly costly affair.
Originally the Olympic Stadium was priced up at £280 million in the London 2012 bid book before the price tag rose to £429 million. The reconstruction and roof costs now look like pushing the total above £600 million.

I'm sure the investments into Melbourne Olympic Park, the Laver Arena et al, Adelaide and Perth venues and in Sydney into the new International Exhibition and Conference Centre, will pay off. Government's hand in the form of seed capital, underwriting and often substantial capital, makes our major sports venues possible – like it or not. And each of those must constantly upgrade, inject new technology and find ways of attracting crowds as well as delivering broadcast value – the challenge of keeping competitive and relevant. Smaller community venues will always need substantial government support, upfront and during their life. I'm impressed with the frequency of support spread about communities in Victoria. I just hope it is all cleverly used.

There is a boom in housing investment from China – here in Australia, in Canada, in the US and in New Zealand. Chinese nationals hold roughly $660 billion in personal wealth offshore, according to Boston Consulting Group, and the US National Association of Realtors says US$22 billion of that was spent in the past year acquiring US homes. The Hurun Report, a magazine in Shanghai about China’s wealthy elite, estimates that almost two-thirds of the country’s millionaires have already emigrated or plan to do so. They’re buying homes in the US from Seattle to New York. And here in Australia some areas are seeing much buying interest.

Back to a local view. How about the ongoing swell of the Western Sydney Wanderers, now to play a Saudi club in the Asian Club championship final. Festivals abound…food fests all over our cities in Spring. Brisbane has its cultural fest. Sydney Festival is ramping up its marketing…Gold Coast will host the Pan pacific Masters Games shortly….and watch out for the results of those fabulous Australian Event Awards.

Have you identified the shifts that will underpin your business in the next 2-3 years? Global, local, demographic, sector-specific winners and losers…? There's a lot of change going on.

Eric Winton

Director, New Millennium Business

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