Glasgow and Scotland were promoted to a television audience of more than 1.4 billion during the staging of last year’s inaugural European Championships, it has been claimed.
The official evaluation report of the Glasgow 2018 European Championships revealed the substantial national and international exposure enjoyed as the multi-sport event was broadcast on free-to-air channels across 43 European countries.
With online and social media coverage included, the audience for the 12 sports across Glasgow and co-host Berlin, which staged athletics, reached 2.9 billion in the key tourism and business market of Europe.
In total, it is stated the media exposure for Glasgow and Scotland was worth more than £250 million ($313 million/€278 million) in public relations value as millions of sports fans enjoyed the 11 days of action across aquatics, cycling, golf, gymnastics, rowing and triathlon.
Highlights included 1.4 million viewers tuning in to watch British swimmer Adam Peaty break his own world record in the men's 100 metres breaststroke at Tollcross International Swimming Centre.
At the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, Scottish cyclist Katie Archibald’s silver medal-winning performance in the women's individual pursuit was watched by two million viewers.
Across the United Kingdom, the BBC reported an average audience of more than one million with a total reach of 20 million, in excess of established events such as rugby’s Six Nations and just below the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The BBC also reported that the event attracted a higher female and younger audience than many other sporting events.
Across Glasgow and Scotland, more than 560,000 people – more than double the projected number – attended a sport session, an offering of the cultural festival "Festival 2018" or visited the hugely popular George Square and "GO LIVE! at the Green" live sites.
Final attendance figures show 137,000 tickets for sport were issued, while more than 54,000 attended free sporting events such as the cycling road race on the streets of the city, and open water swimming at Loch Lomond.
In all, 97 per cent of spectators from Glasgow were proud that their city was hosting the event.
"The incredible broadcast numbers achieved by the Glasgow 2018 European Championships are great news, and mean people around the world had the chance to see Scotland demonstrating the nation’s ability to stage top-class sporting events," Minister for Sport Joe FitzPatrick said.
"The competition will have far-reaching effects – not just in terms of showcasing our country and culture around the globe, but also in inspiring a whole new generation of athletes.
"The success exceeded our expectations and I congratulate all involved in this event."
In addition to the value of the worldwide public relations exposure for Glasgow and Scotland, an independent economic assessment showed significant amounts of expenditure from visitors and participants in the event, as well as millions of pounds of contracts won for Scottish companies.
As a result of hosting the European Championships, there was just over £34 million ($43 million/€38 million) of additional spend in Glasgow and Scotland, and an estimated £24 million ($30 million/€27 million) of contracts awarded to Scottish companies, with £8.5 million ($10.6 million/€9.5 million) of those going to companies based in the Glasgow City Region.
Significant effort was said to have been made to create social and community benefits by the organisers.
Team 2018, the 3,600 volunteers who were key to making the event such a success according to those surveyed, were a diverse workforce, exceeding targets for the number of Scottish and Glasgow residents and new volunteers, including significant numbers of people aged under 26.
Around 50 per cent of the volunteers said they we would do more volunteering as a result of taking part in Glasgow 2018.
Another 17 countries were represented across Team 2018.
"Yet again I want to say thank you to the athletes, volunteers, spectators, media, officials and amazing home crowds," Councillor David MacDonald, depute leader of Glasgow City Council, said.
"These final broadcast numbers illustrate only too clearly the massive benefit the staging of events bring to our city as we showcase what we have to offer to visitors and investors across Europe and beyond."