Key Success Factors for Fan Zones (Public Viewings) Covering Mega Sport Events - the Case of UEFA EURO 2008(TM) in Austria

Article excerpt

Abstract

This article sheds light on results from a quantitative on-site visitor satisfaction survey (n=8,093), a post-event analysis based on a subsequent quantitative analysis (n=25) and five qualitative interviews with key decision makers involved in the UEFA EURO 2008TM. Based on a dual importance grid analysis, key success factors in organising mega sports events have been identified, particularly with respect to fan zones and public viewings. Comfort in fan zones was identified as an excitement factor for visitors, while pre-match entertainment is often over-estimated by event organisers. Creating a good atmosphere is an important performance factor, while a general level of safety is perceived as a basic factor by event visitors. Furthermore, the paper in hand reveals discrepancies in event perception between different stakeholder groups, such as visitors, event right holders and event organisers. It became evident that the event organisers' views differ significantly from those of the spectators and that consideration of spectators' interests is crucial to organising fan zones successfully. In conclusion, experts commented on the results and highlighted the importance of external factors such as general organisation, weather and location of the fan zone.

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Keywords: key success factors - fan zones - visitor satisfaction - mega sports events - UEFA EUROTM

Citation: Schnitzer, M., M. Stickdorn (2012) Key success factors for fan zones (public viewings) covering mega sport events - the case of UEFA EURO 2008TM in Austria. European Journal of Tourism Research 5(1), pp. 19-37

Introduction

Mega sports events have not only increasingly gained media attention in recent years, but they have also led to a huge number of on-site visitors in the host countries and cities. Since the number of event tickets is limited, the organisation of fan zones where thousands of people can, for example, watch football matches on giant screens has become more important. Fan zones and public viewings are increasingly developing into an integral part of mega (sports) events. As a consequence, the visitors' expectations of public viewings are also on the rise, resulting in challenges in organising mega events, not least because knowledge is still rather limited as regards the key success factors for public viewings. Until now, little research has been conducted on fan zones and public viewings covering mega events, whereas research on service quality factors and the assessment of spectator satisfaction with respect to major sports events has been carried out on occasion. In an attempt to close this knowledge gap, the paper in hand focuses on the following research question: "What are the key success factors when organizing fan zones for mega sports events?" The paper presents findings based on the case of the UEFA European Championship (UEFA EURO).

The UEFA EURO is a football competition held every four years featuring national teams from European countries. The UEFA EURO 2008TM Austria / Switzerland was the second tournament to be hosted by two countries after the UEFA EURO 2000TM in Belgium / Netherlands. From 6-29 June 2008, 16 international teams participated in the UEFA EURO 2008TM in eight cities. Over 1.1 million spectators attended 31 matches during the entire period in Austria and Switzerland (Preuss, Siller, Zehrer, Schütte & Stickdorn, 2010).

To answer the proposed research question, the paper reports on a quantitative study of 8,093 questionnaire-based interviews with event visitors during the UEFA EURO 2008TM (n=8,093), as well as two post-event studies with event managers: A quantitative online survey with event managers in different positions (n=25) and five in-depth, semi-structured interviews with senior UEFA EURO 2008TM coordinators.

Literature Review

Football mega events

Since the 1980s, mega events started to trigger interest as a research topic, especially in the field of tourism and leisure research (Hall, 1992, 1989; Getz, 1991; Burns, Hatch & Mules, 1986; Ritchie, 1984). …