Academic journal article Journal of Tourism Challenges and Trends

The Role of International Sporting Events in the Place Marketing Activity of Debrecen (Hungary)

Academic journal article Journal of Tourism Challenges and Trends

The Role of International Sporting Events in the Place Marketing Activity of Debrecen (Hungary)

Article excerpt

Providing a venue for international "mega-events" (e.g. cultural or sporting events, conferences) has recently become one of the most important objectives of the place marketing activities of cities (Gratton et al. 2005; Horne & Manzenreiter 2006; Jun & Lee 2007; Law 1994), in the background of which we can find various factors:

--these events generate significant direct financial incomes;

--the media interest accompanying them can make the given settlement well-known in a short time;

--the infrastructural developments related to the event also enhance the competitiveness of the city in other fields;

--the successful organization of these events adds to the pride and self-consciousness of the local population.

From among the mega-events, a special role is played by sporting events, which offer further advantages in addition to the above (Avraham & Ketter 2008; Berkowitz et al. 2007; Hall 1992; Rein & Shields 2007; Ward 1998):

--they strengthen the relationship between the private and the public sectors;

--due to their more popular nature, the general public accepts them better than the other types of events;

--they also have a long-term impact on tourism: spectators and participants of sporting events, in case of favourable impressions, may revisit the given settlement later;

--the volunteers assisting in the organization of the sporting events come from various layers of society, and the event concerned also promotes networking between them;

--the sporting events play a significant role in the branding activity carried out by the cities;

--awareness and the popularity of the branches of sport concerned increases at the settlement.

The purpose of this presentation is the examination of international sporting events in place marketing activity of Debrecen, the second largest city of Hungary (Figure 1), which has also become one of the sporting event capitals of the county:

--it provided the venue for more than 10 European and world championships (Table 1),

--in 2009, the city hosted for the 53rd time the "Bocskai Istvan" International Boxing Tournament, which is one of the most significant Hungarian and European boxing competition and more than once in the past few years it showcased an even stronger pool of participants than the European Championship;

--in 2007 Debrecen submitted an--albeit eventually unsuccessful--bid to host the first Youth Olympics Games to be held in 2010.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

With respect to the meaning/definition of place marketing, there are various opinions in the international literature (Ashworth & Voogd, 1990; Kotler, et al., 1993; Kozma, 2006), but a significant proportion of the researchers hold that place marketing includes the same activities that contribute to the realization of the following tasks among the three most important target groups:

--economic participants: the local governments must endeavour to promote the further development of the companies already operating on their area, to support the starting of small enterprises and to attract new companies,

--tourists: the local governments must endeavour to assure the satisfaction of the demands of visiting tourists and to attract new tourists,

--inhabitants: the local governments must endeavour to intensify the satisfaction level of local inhabitants and to attract population groups which are profitable for the settlement.

The role of events in the marketing activity of the city

If we analyze the sporting events from the point of view of the above, we can state that they have played an important role in the marketing activity of the city among the three most important targets groups mentioned above.

It is with respect to tourists that the most direct link between sporting events and place marketing can be identified. …

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