Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February led to a number of sporting events being relocated, with the Champions League final heading from Saint Petersburg to Paris.
UEFA made the decision on February 25 after what it described as the “grave escalation of the security situation in Europe”. Saint Petersburg’s Gazprom Arena had been due to stage the match but Paris’ Stade de France stepped in to host.
Formula 1 also removed its Russian Grand Prix from the calendar, while the international governing bodies of judo, gymnastics, aquatics, volleyball and sport climbing all cancelled events scheduled for the country.
The war in Ukraine also prompted Oak View Group to announce that it would not do business in or with Russia, while Russian brands were removed from its venues.
Earlier in the month, Oak View Group rebranded its OVG Facilities division and its recent Spectra acquisition as OVG360.
The OVG360 division offers a range of services, including hospitality and food, booking and content development, private events and curated experiences, global partnerships, premium sales, integrated marketing solutions, public safety, public health and sanitisation, sustainable operations, and parking and mobility services.
Elsewhere in the industry, events solutions business Arena Events Group entered into a new era following the closure of a deal that saw International Holding Company (IHC), the Abu Dhabi-headquartered multi-sector conglomerate, secure a majority stake in the firm.
The move marked IHC’s entry into the global event and semi-permanent structures industry. IHC acquired a 70% stake in Arena for a total consideration of AED239.8m (£53.9m/€61.5m/$65.3m).
February was also a busy month for venue sponsorships, as healthcare company Centene acquired naming rights to the new stadium of Major League Soccer franchise St. Louis City SC. London’s SSE Arena, Wembley also added OVO Energy as its new naming-rights partner, while Signal Iduna extended its backing of Borussia Dortmund’s home stadium.
On the events front, the football associations of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland announced plans to bid for UEFA Euro 2028 after ending plans to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup.
The announcement followed an extensive feasibility study, which included an analysis of the economic impact, the political football landscape and likely costs of hosting major international tournaments.
Meanwhile, Chelsea claimed a Premier League first after announcing plans to fit Stamford Bridge with 5G technology as part of its agreement with shirt sponsor Three.