Melbourne has come a close second only to the 2012 Olympics host city London in the prestigious World's Ultimate Sport Cities Awards based on industry rankings from SportBusiness International.
As Melbourne prepares to host the Game One blockbuster of the 2012 Harvey Norman State of Origin Series between the Queensland Maroons and New South Wales Blues at Etihad Stadium tonight Premier Ted Baillieu announced that Melbourne is at the top of the world sporting events table.
"Melbourne topped the rankings for the World's Best Sport Venues and the World's Best Major Events Strategy, and was named the Best Sports City in the 'large' category for cities with a population of between four and six million people," Mr Baillieu said.
London, host of this year's Olympic Games, finished just 10 points ahead of Melbourne in the overall category.
"Major sporting events deliver significant economic benefits for Victoria, and major events generate jobs in the events industry as well as our hotels, restaurants, retail businesses and tourist attractions," Mr Baillieu said.
"Importantly major events showcase our great State to the world and that generates tourism and business investment.
"The Victorian Coalition Government is strengthening Victoria's competitive edge, we have successfully secured new major events and we are investing in our sporting venues to attract more major events and to continue to deliver an outstanding spectator experience," Mr Baillieu said.
The Coalition Government has provided new funding to maintain and upgrade Victorian world's best sports venues with planning starting on Stage 2 of the Melbourne Park redevelopment to ensure the Australian Open remains in Melbourne, the completion of Lakeside Stadium as a world class track and field venue and ongoing support for the operation of the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre and the State Hockey and Netball Centre.
The Government has also been delivering upgrades at the MCG and Stage 1 of the Melbourne Park redevelopment.
Minister for Tourism and Major Events Louise Asher said Victoria's major events calendar was worth $1.4 billion in economic benefit to our State each year.
"The Victorian Coalition Government has successfully attracted additional major events for Victoria and is committed to boosting Victoria's major events calendar in Melbourne and regional Victoria," Ms Asher said.
Ms Asher said the Coalition Government had secured matches of the 2013 British and Irish Lions Tour of Australia (Rugby), matches of the 2015 AFC Asia Cup, 2014 Masters Rowing World Championships (Ballarat), Host City ISAF Sailing World Cup, Olympic Farewell Series Australian Boomers and Opals (men's and women's basketball teams), WTC Asia-Pacific Ironman Championship, and the FIH Hockey Champions Trophy 2012.
The biennial SportsBusiness Ultimate Sports City Awards recognise the achievements of cities around the world in a number of areas relating to the cities' capacity to support sporting events.
The Awards are assessed by a panel of industry judges convened by SportsBusiness International using a range of criteria including: the number of annual sports events held; major events held or won between 2008 and 2016; numbers of federations hosted; the calibre of events for which bids are currently being made; facilities/venues; transport; accommodation; government support; security; legacy; public sports interest; quality of life; marketing; and the use of social media.
The Top 10 rankings for Ultimate Sports City
- London 491
- Melbourne 481
- Sydney 421
- New York 406
- Manchester 398
- Singapore 393
- Berlin 370
- Copenhagen 353
- Glasgow 344
- Paris 337