London, UK, has been named as the number one Global Sports City in Sportcal’s Global Sports Cities Index in 2017. Baku, PyeongChang, Nanjing and Edmonton are the big movers in the top 20 whilst Helsinki, Rotterdam and Auckland each fall down the index.

In an unchanged top 10, London leads the index ahead of fellow summer Olympic host cities Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Tokyo, Japan. 

Moscow, Russia is scheduled to host or has hosted more events (14) than any other city from 2011-2024.

Baku, PyeongChang, Nanjing and Edmonton all climb the index whilst Gold Coast and Minsk drop out of the top 20.

Baku, Azerbaijan climbs five positions as it prepares to host world championships in cycling BMX and judo in 2018.

Nanjing, China was recently awarded the BWF World Championships for 2018 and will also host the inaugural FIRS World Roller Games this year, assisting its ascent, up 17 positions to 19th in the index.

Edmonton, Canada joins Nanjing in the top 20 having secured the ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final for 2020.

Significant moves within the top 100 Global Sports Cities

Manchester, UK is the biggest climber within the top 100 having been awarded the 2019 WTF World Taekwondo Championships, rising 233 places up to 25th in the index. Manchester will also host the joint men’s and women’s PSA World Championships in December this year, as well as the 2018 FIL Men's Lacrosse World Championship.

Cairo, Egypt, the second biggest mover, climbs 229 places to 69th in the index. Cairo will host this year’s Modern Pentathlon World Championships in August as well as matches of the Men's World Handball Championships in 2021, which will also take place in the Egyptian cities of Ismailia and Port Said in June of that year.

Abu Dhabi, UAE, also significantly improves its position in the index following the award of the Special Olympics Summer World Games 2019.

Hosts of other major multisport events have also moved upwards, including Wroclaw, Poland (World Games 2017) rising up to 29th whilst Taipei City, Taipei (Summer Universiade 2017), has climbed 19 places up to 49th.

Aarhus in Denmark rises 70 places, up to 67th. The city will host both the 2018 Sailing World Championships and IAAF World Cross Country Championships in 2019. Aarhus is also the host city of this year’s SportAccord Convention which is taking place this week. More than 1,000 organisations, 92 international sport federations and 1,500 key decision makers are present in the city.

Other notable moves within the top 100 Global Sports Cities includes Leipzig, Germany, host of the Fencing World Championships in July of this year; and Mexico City, Mexico, which climbs 76 places to 88th and will host the World Archery Championships in October of this year.

Lahti, Finland, host of the 2017 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships which took place earlier this year, climbs 17 places to 86th in the index.

It is Melbourne, Australia which falls further than any other city within the top 100 of the index, from 59th to 95th. Melbourne loses its points for the UCI Road World Championships 2010 which no longer registers within the analysis period of the index. Melbourne has failed to secure any major world championships or multisport games since it hosted matches of the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2015.

Past & Future Sports City

London also tops the Past Global Sports Cities Index, with a total of 11 events taking place between 2011 and 2017.

Following its hosting of the Olympic Games in 2016, Rio de Janeiro remains high on the list in second position.

Paris, Budapest, Rotterdam and Auckland all rise in the Past Global Sports Cities Index.

Tokyo leads the Future Global Sports Cities Index with a number of world championships to take place in the lead up to the 2020 Olympic Games. Japan’s capital will also host a number of matches for the Rugby World Cup 2019.

Doha rises to second position as it prepares to host a number of major sports events in the coming years with the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in 2018, IAAF World Athletics Championships in 2019, matches for the FIFA World Cup in 2022 and the FINA World Championships in 2023.

Moscow and PyeongChang each rise four places as we move closer to 2018, when the Russian capital will host a number of matches in the Fifa World Cup, and PyeongChang will host the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.


Copenhagen climbs 15 places into eighth within the Future Global Sports Cities Index following the recent award of the 2021 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships which will mark the 100-year anniversary of the Danish Canoe Federation.

Abu Dhabi, in tenth position, climbs an unprecedented 78 places within the Future Index following the award of the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games where more than 7,000 athletes from over 160 nations are expected to participate. The capital of the United Arab Emirates will also host the 15th FINA World Championships (25m) in 2020.

Sportcal’s Global Sports Cities Index top 100 can be viewed here.

Global Sports Nations and Cities Index

The Global Sports Nations and Cities Index is based on in-depth analysis of major multisport games and world championships over a rolling 14-year period, covering seven years in the past (including the current year) and seven years in the future. In total, 86 nations and 621 cities have hosted, or are scheduled to host events during this period.

Bids awarded up to and including 19 March 2017 have been included in the April 2017 index.

Each event is given a weighting based on its Global Sports Impact (GSI) Event Rating – this rating is calculated using the latest event data across a range of indicators which measures the size, scale and impact of an event.

The GSI Event Ratings are then attributed to the host nations and cities, producing the Global Sports Nations and Cities Index. A time weighting is given, so that events in the current year are worth 100 per cent of the rating value, while events in previous or future years are worth less.

The April 2017 index further increased the number of events analysed with 705 events across 151 categories, in 81 sports, including summer and winter Olympic sports and Olympic ‘recognised’ sports. The GSI Project and GSI Event Studies Programme aims to engage with more international federations in future in order to include every world championship event of members of the Association of IOC Recognised International Sports Federations (ARISF) within the Global Sports Nations and Cities Index.

For further information about the GSI Project or the Global Sports Nations and Cities Index, contact