Academic journal article Polish Sociological Review

A Large Sports Event in the Eyes of the Host City's Inhabitants: The Example of Wroclaw

Academic journal article Polish Sociological Review

A Large Sports Event in the Eyes of the Host City's Inhabitants: The Example of Wroclaw

Article excerpt

Abstract: In this article the authors have presented the history and organizational structure of the UEFA Euro 2012. They describe the main investments accompanying the organization of the competition in Poland, and particularly in Wroclaw (one of the host cities). They also present a synthesis of the costs and benefits connected with organizing the championship. For the needs of the article, a survey was taken of Wroclaw residents asking them what results they foresaw from the organization of the event. The aim of the research was to determine perceptions of the Euro 2012's expected social, economic, and promotional effects for the city and the country.

Keywords: Euro 2012, sport events, Wroclaw, social reactions, perceptions

Introduction

This article presents the results of research into the phenomenon of social perceptions of sports events and their effects on the areas where those events are organized. 'Sport is institutional or social behavior the core of which is competition based on skill and strategy. The specific behavior ranges from games of children to the contests of professional athletes. The institution of sport extends into economics, education, and the mass media; it has been studied by anthropologists, historians, economists, political scientists, social psychologists, and researchers in physical education' (Luschen 1980: 315).

The organization of sports events fulfils essential social functions. Participation in such events as a member of the audience is an element of what is called socialization: that is, spending one's free time with friends and family and strengthening relations with them (Standeven and De Knop 1999). Sports activity shapes the social image of nations, countries, and regions (Dolles and Söderman 2008). Sports events draw tourists, generating revenue for the areas where they are organized. Sports rivalry-for instance, in football-is also an element in building national pride, which is sometimes even coloured with nationalist hues. In this context, sports often evoke very strong social emotions, which can be a source of positive social mobilization, but which may also create aggressive attitudes (Illiycheva 2005).

The Contemporary image of large sports events is largely created by the media. Audiences all over the world observe, often with solemnity, the atmosphere of large sports events (Kennedy 2001). In contemporary sports rivalry, medal statistics have also become important. Many people rank a given country or nation on the basis of its achievements in international sports competitions.

Given the above-mentioned functions of sports events, the authors of the present article decided to conduct an analysis of how Wroclaw's inhabitants viewed the significance of Euro 2012 for their country's and city's development. The authors addressed the issue of the Euro 2012 in Poland because it is a subject that has appeared frequently in the public forum in recent years. Among other matters, the preparations for the event, and the social and economic effects of organizing it, have been widely discussed in the media. In Poland, such a major sports event is a rarity, thus its organization was much discussed by the public as well. Scholarly works touching on similar sports events are likewise rare in Polish literature, although such sports events are frequently the subject of research abroad. Publications on the World Championship (Baade and Matheson 2004; Horne and Manzenreiter 2004; Lee and Taylor 2005) and European Football Championship (Barros 2006; Marivoet 2006) can be given as examples here.

The researchers' main aims in the present work were to present:

- the history and organizational structure of the UEFA European Championshipthe Euro

- the main investments conducted in Poland in preparation for the Euro 2012

- in particular, consideration of the investments undertaken in Wroclaw

- the expected benefits from organizing the Euro 2012

- the attitude of Wroclaw's inhabitants to the Euro 2012

- the inhabitants' expectations of the events' costs and benefits. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.