|Peter Bayer- CEO Youth Winter Olympics, Innsbruck 2012|
|Profile of the week|
Friday, 03 August 2012 06:40
Born in Vorarlberg in Western Austria, Peter Bayer holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Innsbruck.
He gathered substantial experience as a marketing and event director of large-scale events around the globe for more than 15 years and is specialized in Music, Arts and Sports Consulting with a focus on youth oriented strategies.
In September 2009, he was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of the Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games.
On January 22nd 2012, Peter was presented with the Olympic Order by IOC President Jacques Rogge.
He currently lives in Innsbruck, is married, and has one son.
What do you think of the iSportconnect concept?
It is important to understand that the world of sports and all its stakeholders, especially media and commercial partners, are moving faster and faster, and that in order to remain relevant you have to be connected to the rest of the world and work together in a process of co-construction. Therefore, I think it is extremely helpful to network on an established platform like iSportconnect.
How did you become CEO of the Youth Winter Olympics?
I supported the bid committee back in 2008 – after I came back from a project in Japan I heard that Innsbruck 2012 was looking for a new CEO. I applied and won with my vision of informing, involving and finally integrating the local youth into this sportive festival of friendship, respect and excellence.
Did you always intend to work in the sports industry?
In my whole professional life I have been working in sports, music, art and events, but working in the sports industry created the most memorable moments and I got to meet some wonderful people. It is in my opinion the most inspiring environment to work in. It is usually 24/7 and it is almost a lifestyle more than a job.
Innsbruck hosted the first ever Youth Winter Olympics, what challenges were there in planning such an event?
The two main challenges were:
1) To explain people that this is not the Mini-Olympics and at the same time it is not the Olympic Games – It is a new “product” that had to be defined – this accounted for potential commercial partners as well as for the local population – no one really know what to expect.
2) The time for preparation was quite short – 3 years to create and plan from scratch was a tight schedule. At the same time we were working with a quite small budget compared to other multi sport – multi venue events and therefore had to be constantly creative and find new ways of doing things.
With most major worldwide events the focus is now on the legacy that they leave, what do you think the legacy of the 2012 Winter Youth Olympics has been for Innsbruck so far, and what do you expect it to be in future?
Innsbruck is the first city in the world who hosted the Olympic family for the 3rd time – we have 3 Olympic cauldrons – Innsbruck is a true Olympic city!
We built an Olympic Village, which 3 months after the Games has been handed over to 444 families of Innsbruck who needed a place to live. We built a permanent freestyle park in Kühtai, 2 new Skijumps in Seefeld and a Biathlon shooting range and we created some new alpine slopes on Patscherkofel – all of these sports facilities will be not only used for further Worldcup Events – Worldchampionships etc. They will also serve as training camps for our grassroots athletes.
The legacy in the future will be that sportive and cultural inspiration of our youth are things money cannot buy. The more we invest in the future of today´s youth, the more will our society benefit from it in the long run.
On top of all that Innsbruck is also benefitting from the global communication around the YOG – 70 TV stations – 18.000 articles – 950 accredited journalists made sure that Innsbruck remains the “Capital of the Alps”.
How did you manage to convince the bid committes that Innsbruck was the best city to hold the games?
In my personal opinion, it was the mix of great know-how when it comes to organize high level sport events and at the same time having a very young and vibrant city life in Innsbruck due to our university – out of 130,000 inhabitants 30,000 are students!
How much dialogue will you have with future hosts about your experience and what kind of advice can you provide?
I am honoured to be a member of the IOC Coordination Commission for Lillehammer 2016 and will offer them all my experience and support. After all, every city will have to find its own identity and there are different environments and expectations in every country – so I will try to focus on what I believe we did best – create an authentic – youthful and lasting inspiration for the youth of the world and our local youngsters.
As well as the global Olympic sponsors, the Innsbruck Games of 2012 had to secure its own sponsorship, how much of a challenge was this?
It was a challenge, since the product was new and at the same time Olympic brand protection rules were in place. It took us some time and efforts to explain to national partners about the opportunities of such a partnership and we were delighted after all with the support we have received from our partners – Olympic TOPS as well as national partners.
What kind of positive impact did the sponsors have on the games and on the city of Innsbruck?
On the one hand, it was fantastic to experience how Olympic Top Sponsors were engaging and activating their partnerships. Be it in the media, out of home or digital – they really changed the look of the city and the feel of the nation. On the other hand, our national partners helped us to engage with the local communities – people where informed about the Games and have been offered many ways of being part of it. Of course the showcasing areas during the YOG where a major benefit for the visitors of the city since they provided exciting opportunities for photos, digital experiences and entertainment downtown Innsbruck.
What would you hope to see from the games in Lillehammer, Norway in 2016?
We are proud that the 2nd edition of the YOG will happen in the Olympic city of Lillehammer. I can still remember the pictures of 1994 when thousands of enthusiastic were cheering for the athletes and creating an unforgettable ambiance and I am sure they will provide perfectly organized sporting events with a very exciting Culture and Education program that will build on the basis of what we did.
What was the most rewarding aspect of your role as CEO of Innsbruck 2012?
Working with a team of young professionals (the average age in IYOGOC was 28!) – almost 24/7 and being able to write a little paragraph in the world of sports history book.