After an 18-month search, the GSMA decides...a drum roll, please...Barcelona as the Mobile World Capital.
And-- surprise! surprise!-- as the Mobile World Capital winner, Barcelona gets to be the home of the GSMA Mobile World Congress.
The other finalist cities – Milan, Munich and Paris – probably never had much of a chance. The rule in the exhibition business (for obvious reasons) is when it ain't broke, don't move it. But how did you scare the beejus out of the extent venue and extract additional concessions?
You announce a contest. You very publicly announce the candidates have to be willing to put up $10 million. And you dangle the opportunity of a Big Event Coming to Town in front of big cities that can pay and that can fancy themselves as worth it.
It's over now...can Barcelona now feel secure? For a while. The capital designation is more a rental than a purchase deal: for $10 million the deal lasts for only 2012-2018. When GSMA built a dedicated web site for Mobile World Capital they very cleverly already emphasise in their graphic "THE FIRST" Mobile World Capital.
Yes, in 2018 we'll get another circus performance. The mobile industry itself is happy with Barcelona in late February. Think about it: a mobile show in February where you might be snowed in Munich, rained on in Paris and fogged out in Milan....
Mobile World Congress 2012 will remain at Fira de Barcelona Montjuic and will be held 27 February – 1 March 2012. Starting in 2013, the Mobile World Congress will be held at a new venue, Fira de Barcelona Gran Via (25-28 February 2013).
The Mobile World Capital also features two additional elements. The Mobile World Centre includes permanent and temporary exhibitions which will meld culture and technological innovation, facilities for the development and incubation of mobile solutions, and retail and hospitality venues. The Mobile World Festival, targeted to the general public, will incorporate a range of activities including sporting events, music and art festivals, film awards, applications and technology fairs and more.
That sounds like a lot of window dressing for the $10 million.
Welcome back, Barcelona... you are already Capital with most of us.