Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

Olympic Games Host and Bid City Marketing: Exploring Issue Management in the Relationships among Event Stakeholder Groups

Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

Olympic Games Host and Bid City Marketing: Exploring Issue Management in the Relationships among Event Stakeholder Groups

Article excerpt

Executive summary

Cities or local governments and their roles in sport have been examined from a variety of perspectives, mostly focusing on major professional sport franchise relocation issues. Scholars have not paid much attention to either the host city or host country as units of analysis in Olympic marketing, or in Olympic city (organising committee) marketing. This paper therefore considers cities/countries as units of analysis, with a specific focus on one of the world's most prominent city-based events--the Olympic Games.

The research questions of interest are 1) how places (i.e. the city and the host country) are portrayed and positioned in winning Olympic bids; 2) how a bid committee can manage the local dynamics to forge favourable perceptions of the bid both domestically and internationally; 3) what are the interactions and caveats in image-building when consumers perceive the host country as the place unit associated with both an Olympic Games and its sponsors; and 4) the impact of commercialisation on cities' (organising committees') ability to finance the Games.

Following from the work of Parent (2008), we have compiled a series of essays in order to explore issues of sport mega-event management in the context of Olympic host/bid cities. The overall goal of this work is to illuminate the nature of several stakeholder relationships and the issues driving these relationships when the place is the unit of analysis. The four essays build upon Parent's (2008) framework, each addressing different issues and applying certain aspects of the theoretical framework.

The first essay discusses the marketing implications of bid city presentations and the links between the city and the organisations involved. The second reviews the Vancouver 2010 Plebiscite and recounts--in the context of Parent's model--how public consent is manufactured. The third essay uses established marketing and tourism theories associated with 'Product Country Image' and 'Tourist Destination Image' research to look at the Olympic Games and its sponsors. Finally, an essay on the historical and contemporary development of the Olympic Games from a commercialisation perspective is presented.

The four essays support the need for a holistic approach to issue and stakeholder relationship management and support the work of Parent.

Introduction

Cities or local governments and their roles in sport have been studied from a variety of perspectives, including facility management/construction (Mason et al, 2007), politics (Brown & Paul, 1999), stakeholder theory (Friedman & Mason, 2005), economics (Owen, 2003), sports finance (Owen & Polley, 2007), between-city competition (Mason & Slack, 1997; 1997) and in-city competition (Nunn & Rosentraub, 1997). However, research related to cities has focused mostly on major professional sports franchise relocation issues and typically does not involve marketing focus on amateur, Olympic or grassroots sports at local level. Of particular note is the fact that sports marketing scholars have paid scant attention to either the host city or the host country as a unit of analysis in Olympic marketing.

In order to address this gap, this paper considers cities/countries as units of analysis--a common practice in many fields (e.g. demographics, tourism destination image). This paper focuses on one of the world's most prominent city-based events, the Olympic Games, and probes marketing implications pertinent to both bid and host cities/countries. In this context, a number of questions of interest emerge: 1) how places (i.e. the city and the host country) are portrayed and positioned in winning Olympic bids; 2) how a bid committee can manage the local dynamics to forge favourable perceptions of the bid both domestically and internationally; and 3) what are the interactions and caveats in image-building when consumers perceive the host country as the place unit associated with both an Olympic Games and its sponsors; and 4) the impact of commercialisation on cities' (organising committees') ability to finance the Games. …

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