Sunday marked the end of the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, the biggest sporting event in the country’s history. Between 19 and 27 August, more than 400,000 fans from 120 countries visited the National Athletics Center, and the tournament was followed by hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide. Sebastian Coe, President of World Athletics, was delighted with the World Championships and said that Hungary was capable of hosting an Olympic Games and encouraged us to an Olympic bid, reports Hirado.hu.
The Media Services Support and Asset Management Fund said that the World Athletics Championships set records on the public media sports channel: over the nine days, more than 2.9 million people tuned in to the events, and the channel was the market leader for four days.
The evening programs drew crowds to the TV screens, with between 900,000 and 1.1 million people tuning in.
The most-watched event of the World Championships in Hungary was the men’s hammer throw final: 569,000 viewers, 19.2 per cent of the TV audience, cheered on Hungarian hammer thrower Bence Halász in the final, who won bronze, but the men’s 100m run and the men’s javelin final also attracted over half a million viewers.
Bence Halász. Photo: MTI/Illyés Tibor
Balázs Fürjes, co-chair of the World Championships Organizing Committee, called the tournament in Budapest a global success of unity, reports M4 Sport. “The World Championships were a global success for 195 countries, such universal participation in sport can only be achieved at the Summer Olympic Games, no other world championships in any other sport can match it”, he highlighted, adding that more than 2,100 athletes took part in the competitions, with well over 4,000 coaches and team members.
He pointed out that
the number of tickets sold exceeded 400,000, a figure that even the sport’s international federation, World Athletics (WA), had not expected.
Balázs Fürjes recalled that Hungary had also benefited from the World Championships. All the guests who came to Budapest, athletes, team members, official guests, fans, journalists and employees spent more than half a million nights in Budapest hotels and spent billions of forints.
He praised Budapest and the hospitality and professionalism of Hungarians had impressed the world. “The volunteers have particularly impressed our foreign guests, who have raved about them. They were 2,500 diplomats, ambassadors of Hungary and they went the extra mile, showing the best face of Hungary to everyone.”
The volunteers are nominated for the International Fair Play Award, and according to Jenő Kamuti, President of the International Fair Play Committee, they have a good chance of winning it.
Besides the volunteers, Balázs Fürjes also praised the Hungarian spectators who once again showed their understanding and love for the sport, saying it was touching to see the fans and the athletes come together.
Moreover, the World Championships will be of great benefit to Hungary in the long term, it will give a boost to Hungarian athletics and inspire children, who, in the co-chair’s opinion, will start playing athletics in large numbers from September. The World Championships have also promoted daily exercise and thus a healthy lifestyle. It has been very useful for the capital as well, since the urban development has replaced the rust with green and now people can once again enjoy the Danube bank of Ferencváros, where the National Athletics Center was built.
Photo: MTI/Máthé Zoltán
The organizers held a press conference on Monday, where they said that the World Athletics Championships had exceeded all their expectations and even their best hopes.
Monday’s press conference began with two videos, the first of the atmosphere and the cheering, and the second of world stars such as the “king” of pole vault, Sweden’s Armand Duplantis, and the women’s high jump champion, Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh, talking about their experiences and impressions.
In their own words, they were all impressed by the World Championships in Budapest and Duplantis concluded by saying that he hoped to return to Hungary as soon as possible.
Fourteen thousand articles have been written about the World Cup, with 28.5 billion clicks worldwide, said State Secretary for Sport Ádám Schmidt, adding that they had received figures showing that more than a billion people watched the Budapest games on TV.
Balázs Németh, CEO of the organizer Budapest 2023 Zrt., said that the World Championships had exceeded all their dreams, being much more successful than they had planned. “It has been the greatest Hungarian sporting event of all time and we have collected over the past week and a half from the world’s most respected sports diplomats and athletics superheroes that it is amazing, impressive, perfect, excellent, the greatest, a new benchmark”, he emphasized. Quoting Sebastian Coe’s words on Sunday, he added that
Budapest is a new benchmark in the history of outdoor World Championships, so from now on the World Championships will be measured against Budapest.
Regarding ticket sales figures, the event has surpassed the most successful World Championships ever held in 2017 in London in terms of numbers. For the competitions, 404,088 tickets were sold out of the 423,090 available.
Furthermore, many innovations, programs and experiences were put in place that would not have been mandatory or expected, and although they required significantly more work, they all delivered on expectations. Among the extras, Balázs Németh cited the fan zones, attracting 200,000 people, and the medal plaza, that impressed Sebastian Coe and the podium finishers as well.
Featured photo via MTI/Illyés Tibor