The origins of the International Association of Event Hosts date back to 2004.
In May of that year 32 representatives of cities and regions met to discuss the formation of a worldwide association, then known as the International Association of Sport Cities (IASC). The meeting was held in Lausanne, Switzerland in conjunction with the General Association of International Sport Federations (GAISF) conference and chaired by Steven Townley, a consultant specialising in sports law, who went on to create and chair LawAccord.
Despite having a formal meeting at the 2005 SportAccord Convention in Berlin chaired by the then CEO of Victorian Major Events Company (Australia), and an informal meeting at the 2007 SportAccord Convention in Beijing, hosted by the National Association of Sports Commissions (USA), the IASC did not continue.
Then from 2012, a “City-to-City” session was introduced as an addition to the programme of SportAccord Convention, chaired in 2012 by Don Schumacher, Executive Director of National Association of Sports Commissions, at the session in Quebec City, and then by jointly David Simon, President of Los Angeles Sports Council, and Rick Traer, CEO of Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance, at SportAccord Conventions in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2013, Antalya, Turkey in 2014 and Sochi, Russia in 2015.
During the session in 2015 participants again discussed the idea of creating an international association to share best practices and to represent the interests of host cities and nations. Following the session a small group of volunteers developed the discussion further and in October 2015 convened a separate meeting of over 30 individuals at the Smart Cities & Sport conference in Lausanne. At this meeting, chaired by Iain Edmondson, Head of Major Events at London & Partners, consensus was reached to continue to research the development of an international association under the guidance of a “working group” involving representatives from Canada, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, UK and the USA.
During late 2015 and early 2016, the working group undertook further research and presented these plans at another forum involving over 50 individuals held in conjunction with SportAccord Convention 2016 in Lausanne. At this session, again chaired by Iain Edmondson, consensus was reached to move forward with the formation of an international association for “not for profit” hosts of major events.