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Introduction Overview Of Mega Sporting

Major sporting events such as the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games and the FIFA World Cup have become a top agenda amongst many countries around the world. These events are significant tools for change, elevating the host’s global stature and a catalyst for sphere heading huge economic, political and social development. Mega sporting events allow host countries to solve a wide range of different critical issues that may be hindered otherwise by endless debates and bureaucracy. These events accelerates infrastructure development by offering a rigid deadline that may otherwise take decades to complete. And with the whole world watching due media and global communications being more technologically sophisticated nowadays, it provides a strong incentive for governments to do things right.

Overview of this paper

This paper aims to firstly, describe and examine the political aspects of hosting mega sporting In this segment, the paper seeks to analyze the political aspects on three major levels- local, national and international level. On the local level, mega sporting events are able to foster collaboration among the public sector, the private sector and the community. Such events are able to improve government efficiency and used as a tool for the development of new ideas such as environmental sustainability, diversity and community involvement. On the national level, such events can bring about urban transformation, civic unity and aids in the building of both a national and a cultural identity. At a more macro international level, mega-sporting events can be used as a platform for the promotion of international human rights and social justice and can serve as a tool for the international recognition of states. These are ambitious and highly worthwhile endeavors, which are also highly challenging to deliver, capture, and prove.

Secondly, this paper will analyze the positive and negative economic aspects of hosting mega sporting event by examining the total commercial activity within the country and the by weighing the effects of the construction of infrastructure for the mega sporting event. In this segment, the paper will illustrate the impacts of the commercial activity with respect to the tourism industry, the employment rate and foreign direct investments on the host country.

This paper will also take into account how major sporting events have the potential to leave a disappointing legacy of abandoned stadiums, missed development opportunities and lost investments. The paper will provide examples to illustrate how hosting certain major sporting events can lead to negative impacts.

Thirdly, this paper seeks to examine the success of India in hosting the recent XIX Commonwealth Games 2010. The success of the mega sporting event is hinged on the host’s ability to plan and execute the mega sporting events at every stage from the prebid to post event legacy.

A successful mega sporting event is defined as an event that has the potential to create a lasting legacy that will help the host country to achieve new levels of global recognition as well as significant economic, political and social development in the future. For a mega sporting event to be successful, it is important for the host country to have careful consideration and an informed approach throughout the mega sporting event from the bidding process, preparation process and finally the conducting of the event. Ultimately, it is the strong anchor leg that ultimately brings home the gold. It is important for host country to have a clear vision for the post event legacy and a sustained commitment towards pursuing this vision so as to have a positive and lasting legacy.

Political Agendas for hosting of Mega Sporting Events

In this segment of the paper, the political agendas for hosting mega sporting events will be discussed on 3 distinct levels- local, national and international.

Local

Civic Pride and Unity

Hosting mega sport events can lead to civic pride [1] . It brings intangible psychological value to the communities that host them. For example, Humphrey noted that when Brazil won the Football World Cup in 1970, the citizens felt that their country had become recognized in the international society and there was a strong feeling that their way of life was equal to or even better than people in First world countries within the country [2] . International prestige is so valued in these mega-sporting events that the former Soviet Union, France and South Korean government offered financial rewards to their elite athletes for winning medals. In some countries such as Britain, athletes who have won medals in mega sporting events are given high profiles and honors.

A major sporting event can also play a role in improving the way people in the host country view themselves and their community. For example, the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore was used as an opportunity by the state to bring Singaporeans together, initiate behavioural changes and engender mindset changes which should last even after the Games are over [3] .

A society of volunteers is essential to achieving the host country;s vision of being an exciting global destination which is vibrant, cosmopolitan and at the same time culturally rich and diverse. It allows people in the host country to share their experiences of living in the country and demostarte values that are close to the heart of the people living in the country. The passion and commitment exhibited by these volunteers will not be able to be matched by salaried workers employed to perform the same duties. Volunteerism allows the people in the country to feel a sense of pride for their country.

Such events also give the host country a strong incentive to address pressing problems within the country such as crime, poverty and urban decay. There are some countries that choose to hide such problems from view. But there are others who use the event as a catalyst to improve the condition of the country.

National

Urban Transformation

Mega sporting events can trigger urban transformation in the host country [4] . These events are catalysts of substantial urban transformation, particularly from transition from industrial city to a post-industrial city due to changes in the global economy. States are no longer dependent on the manufacturing, local capital investment and public sector intervention due to globalization, deregulation and deindustrialization. Nowadays, states place more emphasis on the service and tourism industry [5] . Therefore, governments in the host countries are taking more initiatives to develop and improve infrastructures and fast track the already proposed development plans. For example, Tokyo used the 1964 Olympic games to transform the city from a congested, war-damaged chaos to a modern, prosperous metropolis. Tokyo spent US $2.7 million in 1964 on an urban renovation plan which included extensive road improvements, harbor expansions and development of urban amenities, housing, tourist accommodation and waste and sewage disposal systems. Among Tokyo’s vast Olympic expenditure, it was estimated that less than 3% of the expenditure was spent on the construction of purely competition related facilities; the majority was instead spent on meeting the city’s short term and long-term development plans [6] . Likewise, Athens used the 2004 Olympic Games to improve its transportation system while plans to build a public railway system between Johannesburg and Pretoria was forced to fast track due to the hosting of the 2010 Fifa World Cup in the country.

Building Identities

National Identity

Hosting mega-sporting events can aid the building of national identities in some countries. If done correctly, mega-sporting events can begin to break down racial, ethnic and other forms of discrimination. Football has traditionally experienced a strong following amongst the blacks in South Africa. . Sports is a powerful tool that can help promote social integration and foster tolerance amongst the people, helping to reduce tension and generate dialogues. Sports can cut across barriers that divide the society, as in the case of South Africa where football was seen to foster social cohesion between the Whites and the Blacks. The political significance of the game has undergone fundamental changes within South Africa since its introduction with respect to the struggle between Black and white nationalism within football. The game is commonly referred to as the people’s game due to the fact that it relates to a diverse audience and can provide a fairly effective vehicle for ethnically plural, emergent democratic societies through its multicultural aspirations. The hosting of the World Cup in South Africa symbolizes the development of a new relationship between South Africa, Africa and the international community [7] . The lasting image of Nelson Mandela presenting the Rugby World Cup Trophy to the Afrikaner captain Francois Pienaarin 1995 at the event held in South Africa [8] illustrates how mega-sporting events can bring intangible benefits such as nation building.

Cultural Identity

Modern states host mega sport events not only for national unity and distinctiveness but also use it as a stage to project their cultural identity by utilizing increasingly common array of cultural symbols. The most suitable occasions to display traditional activities depicting nationalism, orientalism and cultural identity in the games are the opening and closing ceremonies [9] . At the 1982 Ninth Asian Games, the overall theme of the unity in diversity in Indian nationalism and culture was the spirit of the ceremonies. There were a display of a variety of dancers depicting the different states in India. Host countries use mega-sporting events as a great opportunity to demonstrate a positive cultural image ,successful integration and traditional values in the international arena with an intention of increasing tourism in the future.

International

Strengthening of Global Image and Positioning

Many established countries choose to host major sporting events from time to time so as to strengthen their global image and positioning. However, nowadays competition has intensified significantly amongst emerging states that want to use such events as a fast track to global recognition and influence.

Some countries host mega sporting events as a tool to articulate and signal key messages regarding the host- a dynamic that extends beyond the state based pursuit of public diplomacy [10] . These signals are critical tools of legitimization for the host country in gaining support both domestically and internationally. The media and global communications have played an important role in this aspect by allowing the event to be seen from all over the world at any real time. These mega sporting events are truly now world events. By hosting mega-sporting events like the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games, the host countries are provided with a “low cost” but “high profile” resource for publicizing their policy on international issues or towards specific states. (Give example)

“Semi peripheral” countries use mega-sporting events as a tool to signal developmental advances. The Olympics held in Beijing in 2008 illustrate how mega sporting events play an extremely important role in International politics. The Chinese saw the Olympics as less of a sporting spectacle and more of a “coming out” party [11] . The mega sporting event was used as an opportunity for China to showcase its economics and political development. In fact, Wen Jiabao stated in an interview in April 2008 that the Beijing Olympics present an opportunity for China to show the world how “democratic, open, civilized, friendly and harmonious” it is [12] .

The use of mega sporting events to signal “graduation” or “arrival” among the world’s leading cities and countries- the achievement of “world class” or “world city” status- has become an increasingly common theme and aspiration among prospective hosts [13] . There is emphasis in India on the awarding of the Commonwealth Games as reflecting the country’s bid and at the same time the country’s achievements in areas such as Information Technology, rapid economic growth and powerful human resource base. The country has also used the opportunity of hosting the games as a tool to shed the “ developing country” label on India. For example, the Times of India editorialized in December 2003 that “ Hopefully, by the time the Commonwealth Games are here, New Delhi will be grown from a “developing” into a developed capital” [14] .

Hosting mega sporting events are also used to signal decisive and desirable social change. The 1995 Football World Cup in Africa plays a significant role in reconciling the blacks and the Whites in South Africa. In particular, it gave the whites in South Africa an opportunity to “ embrace the symbols, leaders and idea of a new, multiracial, democratic country essentially to complete the symbolic journey from the old to new South Africa [15] . Also, the 2010 Football World Cup held recently in South Africa shows the country re-entry into the international community and its journey from a pariah state to a global intermediary.

Stage for the Promotion of International Human Rights and Social Justice

Countries use mega-sporting events as a stage to promote international human right issues. This is especially evident during the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 when widespread protest and increased media attention showed how human rights issues were violated by the Chinese government. Furthermore, the media covers the hosting of mega sporting events extensively. The role of media and global communications allows the mega sporting event to be shown throughout the world to a large pool of audience.

The promotion of International Human Rights can be seen at the hosting of mega sporting events throughout history. In the 1968 Mexico games, there were protest and threats of boycotts against the apartheid regime in South Africa. South Africa was also banned from participating in the games. The expulsions of South Africa from the Games lead to international pressure of the anti-apartheid movement and sports sanctions to be imposed on the country until the eventual fall of the apartheid regime. The mega sporting event was successful in the continued enforcement of South African sanctions, maintaining the anti-apartheid movement [16] . The sporting event played an important role in generating international consciousness for the apartheid regime against South Africa and also helped induced political and social change within the country.

Environmental Movement

Majority of the mega sporting events are focused on sustainable development and environmental education. Politicians tend to use mega sporting event as a tool to engage the public and create awareness on environmental issues and conservation. A recent example is the 2008 Olympic Games

in Beijing: At the time, China wanted to reposition itself as more environmentally friendly and reconcile its rapid economic growth with an environmental protection policy that included pollution control and water conservation. This initiative received widespread coverage for China in the rest of the world [17] . Likewise, many countries may use mega sporting events as a tool for environmental movements.

Economic Agenda for the hosting of Mega Sporting Events

The mega sporting vent can boost the employment rate and create many business opportunities for companies regardless of size due to activities and investments required before, during and after the mega sporting event. Also, the improved infrastructures attract new companies and enables people and businesses to operate more efficiently. Lastly, the improved global image can give a boost to the tourism industry and this can lead to greater economic growth.

Total Commercial Activity

Tourism Industry

Tourism plays an important role in the host country’s economy. The tourism industry is expected to benefit with the increasing media coverage given in conjunction with the hosting of such mega sporting event. Conservative studies estimate increase in post Games tourists to be from 1.5% to 3% for the last Olympic Games in 2008 [18] . This increase in the number of post Games tourist is due to the media coverage of hosting such event. Viewers of the mega sporting event are more likely to develop an interest in visiting the host country, which may lead to a greater desire to visit the country in the future. The mega sporting event gives the host country an opportunity to showcase itself to the world as a leading city for sports and a perfect venue for events as well as an attraction worthy place of repeated visits.

However, the negative externalities such a congestion may dissuade regular non-interested visitors from visiting the city during the event [19] . This will lead to a fall in the number of people visiting the country. Also, if local restaurants and hotels are at full capacity, the event may simply supplant rather than supplement the regular tourism industry [20] . For example, in the 2002 World cup held in South Korea, there was an increase in the number of European visitors to the country but this was offset by a similar decrease in the number of regular tourists and business travelers from Japan who chose to avoid the hassles. [21] There were no change in the total number of foreign visitors visiting the country and the number was stagnant at 460 000. This shows a contradiction to the belief that mega sporting events attract large number of visitors to the host country.

Employment Rate

Mega sporting events can result in an increase in the employment rate of the country. New jobs are created in various aspects of the sporting event ranging from transport to construction industry. For example, it was predicted that the Olympic games held in Atlanta and Sydney respectively would generate as many as 77 000 and 100 000 new jobs. The increase in employment rate translates to an increase in the standard of living within the country.

However, countries need to be cautioned to have labour reserves so as to avoid the risk of destroying the economy. It may prove risky for small economies having full employment rates to host mega sporting events as it can lead to the problem of inflation and this will in turn ruin the whole economy.

Foreign Direct Investments

Hosting mega-sporting events can attract foreign direct investments from multinational companies. Many multinational corporations are attracted to countries with sophisticated infrastructure with a safe and pleasant atmosphere. These foreign direct investments will benefit the host country in terms of productive factors such as marketing know-how, training facilities and technological expertise. The host country will also benefit from the spill over effects such as labour training, upgrading of production skills and motivation of local component suppliers, stimulus to competition and development of managerial skills and knowledge about the foreign markets [22] . All these skills will work together to increase the competitiveness of the host city.

The effect of the construction of infrastructure

Mega Sporting Events requires the host country to invest large sums of money in the construction of sporting arenas. For the 2002 Fifa World Cup, South Korea invested an estimated $2 billion dollars in the construction of ten new stadiums and Japan spent $ 4 billion dollars in building seven new stadiums and refurbishing three existing ones [23] . The extent to which these facilities and infrastructures are used in the future is extremely important, as the demand is likely to decrease substantially after the mega-sporting event. There is a tendency for these infrastructures to become “white elephants” after the event. For example, after the 2002 World Cup, only five out of the ten new stadiums had regular tenants.

There is also an opportunity cost in the construction of the infrastructure for the mega sporting event. The government needs to weigh the benefits and costs of using the public funds to build these infrastructures. There are some countries that use the public funds to build expensive infrastructures for the mega sporting events instead of solving more pressing issues such as poverty and a deficient health care system. For example, in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India, billions of dollars were invested on mega sporting event instead of helping the poor in the country.

An Analysis: The XIX Commonwealth Games 2010

Having described the reasons for countries to host mega sporting events, it is now imperative that these reasons be analyzed in the context of the XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 held recently in India. A successful mega sporting event is defined as one that have a positive and lasting focus on the post event legacy. It is one who receives sufficient attention and investment throughout the lifecycle of the event and is able to use the facilities and infrastructure productively after the event so that that the host country is able to achieve its long term ambitious goals.

Positive Impacts of the Commonwealth Games

Future Use of the Infrastructure

Infrastructure refers to sports infrastructure for competition and training as well as general infrastructures in the city which refers to airports, roads, telecommunication and et cetera. In order for a mega sporting event to be successful, it is important that the event fits into the city’s development goal. A legacy of abandoned infrastructure and economic ruins tarnishes the image of the host country. It also undermines the goal of having a positive impact on sports and the world in general.

In the aspect, the Commonwealth Games will benefit the people in India to a large extent in the future. Dehli went through a massive transformation with the building of a new airport terminal, construction of more metro routes and the addition of new buses to facilitate the transport system within the city for both the locals and tourists. The government have also spent money giving monuments and heritage buildings a radical facelift and developing areas such as East Delhi and the Yamuna riverfront.

However, there is a concern that there will be an underutilization of the infrastructure post event. Many of the stadiums will be vacant and it will be especially difficult to gain access to the stadium since many of it is government owned.

Generation of Employment

The Commonwealth Games 2010

Boost to the Tourism Industry

Image

Strategy alignment

A successful mega sporting event is one that has been planned to leave a long term sustainable benefit on the host country. The host country have to make an effort in aligning the benefits of hosting the mega sporting event with the country’s own long term strategic direction.

In the case of the Commonwealth Games, ( talk about how Delhi have made an eefort in aligning the goals of the mega sporting event with that of the country”s)

Social development

Successful mega sporting events have initiatives that aimed to accelerate the development of the people in the country to be more knowledgeable and accepting of different world cultures and thiese initatives are launched towards to Games.

Sports development

A successful mega sporting event is one that provides an integrated sport and education experience for the athletes. It is one that is inherent in the keen awareness of youth towards various issues relating to sports, a global outlook, knowledge and the acceptance of world cultures.

Common goal

Hosting a mega sporting event incolves the synergic involvenment of different ministeries, statutory boards, communities and commercial organizations.It is important for the general public, commercial organizations and businesses to agree on the event and provide a common goal for the nation, which will represent the best of the host country to the world.

Role of the Government

The government plays a very important role in the pursuing and hosting of successful mega sporting events. There are five distinct roles that the government have to play in the hosting of mega sporting events- financial guarantees, security, stakeholder support, funding infrastructure investment and the support and welcoming sector for it to be deemed successful.

Financial Guarantees

The government need to be a guarantor for financial obligations and liabilities related to the event for the mega sporting event to be successful. The government have to make use of their resources wisely to effectively make the event successful due to the huge amount of money involved. In this aspect, the Commonwealth Games 2010 can be deemed as a complete failure.

Firstly, the government did not make use of their resources efficiently. Millions of dollars were used by the government for the mega sporting event which were irrelevant to the common man in India instead of using it for social development programmes and improving the education and healthcare systems in the country. It is important for the government to keep in mind that the money invested in such events comes from public funds and the event should then benefit the public it derives capital from, not restricting itself to the elite rich minority, while simultaneously ensuring that it does no harm to the community [24] .

Secondly, there were widespread corruption in various aspects of organizing the event including the procurement and awarding of contracts for the construction of the games venue. For example, the Commonwealth Games organizing committee after investigation of financial irregularities charged TS Darbari and deputy director general Sanjay Mahendroo.

Security

The government needs to play a critical role in keeping the people safe. Mega sporting events, due to their growing visibility and importance, have become a major target for terrorists and other disruptive forces. The government has a task of keeping the public and the participants safe. The government also have the job of getting the athletes, support staff and supporters in and out of the country with optimal security.

Firstly,there were a number of athletes who chose to withdraw from the Games due to security reasons. ( explain more )

Secondly, there were a couple of terrorist threats and attacks preceeding to the Games

The Support and Welcoming Sector

A successful mega sporting event will have an excellent ancillary service which will include an efficient ticket selling counter, medical support, police and security, visitor information and sanitation.

Creating a broad economic footprint

Private public partnership and business collaborations

It is important for the organizing committee to partner with leading brands and corporate sponsors for the mega sporting event. In addition, it will be beneficial for local companies, public sector organizations and sport associations to collaborate with various government agencies, non-profit organizations and organizations in the private sector so as to leave a lasting impact on the local economy.

Corporate responsibility

Successful mega sporting events tend to encourage a sport sponsorship culture and greater corporate social responsibility amongst the local business for sports as public recognition provides more opportunities and create long term economic benefits for the sports sponsors.

Commercial benefits

For Singapore 2010, major

infrastructure investments in the Youth Olympic

Village, IT infrastructure and systems, YOG Learning

Centre and New Media initiatives for the Games have

been made jointly with the private sector.

Finally, India is all set to play host to its first major event and has no plans to let the

image of the country down at any cost for any reason whatsoever. It therefore be-

comes essential for the organizers to not only develop the infrastructure and re-

quirements, but also keep firmly in mind the post games use of the same and accor-

dingly plan for sustainable development to avoid urban blight. While conducting such

mega sporting events, the trend has unfortunately been of a lack of planning for the

post games use of the facilities. There are, in fact, only a handful of cases where the

planning as well as implementation have been carried out with great care, and on

time, and Barcelona is one such instance. It therefore becomes clear that the lack of

post-Games planning is not something peculiar to India. It is a global phenomenon.

However, it is high time that the country must take note of happenings around the

world with respect to the organising of such Games, and pay careful heed to the

negative impacts it can have due to lack of a proper policy on post Games legacy

use.

Image

The main reason for India hosting the Commonwealth Games is to propel itself onto the world stage as an economic superpower. The hosting of the mega sporting event brings along with them global media exposure which can either make or break India’s image on the global scene [25] 

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