Article

How to Bid Better for the Olympics: A Participatory Mega-Event Planning Strategy for Local Legacies

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Abstract

Problem, research strategy, and findings: Several cities have canceled their Olympic bids in recent years because of local protests and referenda. Bidding cities now face a new political reality as they debate whether a bid is in the best interests of local stakeholders. We present a case study of Boston's (MA) ultimately unsuccessful bid to be the U.S. city selected to host the 2024 Olympic Games. ­Boston 2024, a nonprofit organization, prepared 2 sequential bids. We ask whether, how, and why Boston 2024 changed its planning approach from the 1st to the 2nd bid to respond to significant protests over its failure to meaningfully involve stakeholders, identify specific legacies, and provide accurate cost details. Our findings are limited by our focus on a single case, the small number of interviewees, and the constraints of ethnographic work. ­Boston 2024 shifted from an elite-driven process to a more inclusive one, from making generic claims about the impact of hosting the Games to describing local legacies, and from opaque budgets to transparent ones. Boston 2024 did not involve city planners in meaningful ways or engage fully with opponents. These changes were thus not sufficient to overcome substantial local distrust and opposition. Takeaway for practice: Cities considering mega-event bids should encourage a fully participatory planning process that provides genuine local legacies and is transparent about costs and who will bear overruns. City planners would contribute significantly to bid planning that meets these objectives. Cities should also pressure Olympic organizations to make supportive changes in their selection requirements.

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While understanding the planning and hosting of major sporting events is a popular research area, less is known about the bid process despite the potential economic and political spinoffs. Some studies offer criteria for successful bids and even consider the stakeholder network as a key factor. Considering the importance of the stakeholder network, we delve deeper into this area. Using the power, legitimacy and urgency framework by Mitchell et al. (1997), we examine the 2018 Olympic Winter Games’ French national bid competition (four candidacies) to analyse the stakeholder relationships, identify their salience and then determine stakeholder-based bid key success factors. Archival material and 28 interviews were analysed. We notably found that to increase the probability of winning, no actor alone should have a definitive status, the sport stakeholder group should have at least the expectant status, and no strategic stakeholder should have the latent status. We also find that a three-level analysis of the stakeholder network allows for a greater understanding of the bid governance and process dynamics at play, which help to elucidate a successful bid. We contribute to the literature by (a) showing how stakeholder salience analysis can assist in understanding the bid network governance structure; (b) demonstrating that stakeholder salience depends on the level which is analysed (local, between bids, and with the event owner), the stage (deciding to bid, national bid competition, national bid win/international competition), and the case/context; and (c) determining stakeholder-based key bid success factors such as who should and should not be more salient in the bid process.
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The task of governing the Olympic Games and the Olympic movement now takes place in an age in which states and societies are increasingly organized in response to risk. At the heart of the risk management in organising the Olympics is the tension between the inherent riskiness of mega-events, which is attributable to their scale and complexities, combined with immense societal, political and organisational pressures for the management of risk. Over time, too, staging the Olympics has become more complex, and riskier, as a consequence of its growing scale and commercial success. Since the 1980s, a profound transformation has occurred in how the Games are organised and governed, with the increased transfer of risk to the market and the spread of regulation as a mode of governance and the formal practice of risk management across functions ranging from finance to security to critical infrastructures to public health. This book is a unique theoretical and empirical analysis of how the Olympic Games are governed, exploring the challenges and pressures of staging the world's largest event and the recent emergence of the formal practice of risk management as a response of decision-makers to the operational demands and complexities of the Games.
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Mega Events are considered to be important impetuses for the regeneration of their host cities as much as for the economic development of their countries. This study examines a number of events planned to take place in Istanbul since the mid-1930s. Although the projects studied here never progressed beyond the planning stages, they have been understood as an important influence upon urban development. Henri Prost, who oversaw the planning of Istanbul from 1936 to 1951, first introduced the idea that the Olympic Games and international exposition might serve as structural tools for urban transformation and development. Organizing the Olympics has remained an aspiration for Istanbul since then. At the turn of the twenty-first century, Istanbul applied officially to host this Mega Event. This paper analyzes the ways in which plans for these Mega Events impacted upon urban development in Istanbul.
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The capacity-building benefits for urban governance of unsuccessfully bidding for large events are often asserted, but much more rarely demonstrated. With the cost of bidding for an Olympics now running at US 25 million, we seek to address this gulf by asking whether the trend for ‘festivalisation’ amongst urban managers is rationally underpinned. Drawing on Lyon’s bid for the 1968 Summer Games, we look at the role played—materially, politically, and symbolically—by the Olympics bidding process, and its influence on Lyon’s later trajectory. The Lyon bid put forward proposals for its position within a pan-European urban hierarchy which have become influential in European spatial planning. Yet, this situation is not a consequence solely of the Olympics bid, but also of a critical urban governance moment in which the bid played a complicated role. By reflecting on the dimensions of influence within which the bidding process became involved we seek to provide a greater depth to the way that international festivals are regarded in contemporary conceptualistions of metropolitan development and governance.
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Formula 1 (F1), with the construction of the track it required, the triggering of further investment it induced within the surrounding location and the numbers of local and foreign participants attending, is the biggest mega-event held in Istanbul to date. As a result of its strategically important location on the Bosporus, Istanbul has played an important role throughout its history. It was the capital of the eastern part of the Roman Empire and of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. The city brings together different religions and cultures as well as being the site of their construction and integration. In terms of socio-economic development, Istanbul is Turkey’s leading city and is in the process of becoming a post-industrial international business centre, it has also become a city that hosts global events.
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A comprehensive and practical guide to ethnographic research, this book guides you through the process, starting with the fundamentals of choosing and proposing a topic and selecting a research design. It describes methods of data collection (taking notes, participant observation, interviewing, identifying themes and issues, creating ethnographic maps and tables and charts, and referring to secondary sources) and analyzing and writing ethnography (sorting and coding data, answering questions, choosing a presentation style, and assembling the ethnography). Although content is focused on producing written ethnography, many of the principles and methods discussed here also apply to other forms of ethnographic presentation, including ethnographic film. Designed to give basic hands-on experience in the overall ethnography research process, Ethnography Essentials covers a wealth of topics, enabling anyone new to ethnography research to successfully explore the excitement and challenges of field research.
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The Olympics have developed into the world's premier sporting event. They are simultaneously a competitive exhibition and a grand display of cooperation that bring together global cultures on ski slopes, shooting ranges, swimming pools, and track ovals. Given their scale in the modern era, the Games are a useful window for better comprehending larger cultural, social, and historical processes, argues Jules Boykoff, an academic social scientist and a former Olympic athlete. In Activism and the Olympics, Boykoff provides a critical overview of the Olympic industry and its political opponents in the modern era. After presenting a brief history of Olympic activism, he turns his attention to on-the-ground activism through the lens of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Here we see how anti-Olympic activists deploy a range of approaches to challenge the Olympic machine, from direct action and the seizure of public space to humor-based and online tactics. Drawing on primary evidence from myriad personal interviews with activists, journalists, civil libertarians, and Olympics organizers, Boykoff angles in on the Games from numerous vantages and viewpoints. Although modern Olympic authorities have strived-even through the Cold War era-to appear apolitical, Boykoff notes, the Games have always been the site of hotly contested political actions and competing interests. During the last thirty years, as the Olympics became an economic juggernaut, they also generated numerous reactions from groups that have sought to challenge the event's triumphalism and pageantry. The 21st century has seen an increased level of activism across the world, from the Occupy Movement in the United States to the Arab Spring in the Middle East. What does this spike in dissent mean for Olympic activists as they prepare for future Games?.
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The Olympic Games bring tremendous impacts to host cities, yet little attention has been paid to the variety and novelty in urban technologies that are introduced through the mega-event vehicle. This paper argues that urban transformation associated with the Olympic Games increasingly spans the technological sphere. As a path-breaker the Olympic bid of Tokyo foreshadows a technological revolution that will make the capital of Japan the most advanced urban technology metropolis in the world. This is significant, as this pioneer for the city of the future may yield many valuable insights given the rapid implementation and acceleration of technological innovation proceeding into 2020. Consequently, lessons on how this technology may impact our society can be derived.
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Toronto is a rare global city because negotiating public land ownership remains a defining feature of the city's urban politics. The awarding of the 2015 Pan American Games to Toronto is a prime occasion to witness how fragmented governance can limit the ambition and enthusiasm of a sporting mega-event. Historically, Toronto has not been known for its ability to host large-scale sporting events but it has recently used a series of failed Olympic bids and smaller sporting events to trigger piecemeal “legacy” development. In this article we argue that the awarding of the Pan American Games to Toronto was predicated on a process that removed local politics from the bidding process. Focusing on the development of the athletes’ village in the West Don Lands and incorporating a number of interviews with key stakeholders across Toronto, this research illustrates that the heavy involvement and investment of the Province of Ontario in the Pan American spectacle forces us to ask: Whose waterfront? Whose games?
Book
The numbers are staggering: China spent $40 billion to host the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing and Russia spent $50 billion for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. Brazil’s total expenditures are thought to have been as much as $20 billion for the World Cup this summer and Qatar, which will be the site of the 2022 World Cup, is estimating that it will spend $200 billion. How did we get here? And is it worth it? Those are among the questions noted sports economist Andrew Zimbalist answers in Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup. Both the Olympics and the World Cup are touted as major economic boons for the countries that host them, and the competition is fierce to win hosting rights. Developing countries especially see the events as a chance to stand in the world’s spotlight. Circus Maximus traces the path of the Olympic Games and the World Cup from noble sporting events to exhibits of excess. It exposes the hollowness of the claims made by their private industry boosters and government supporters, all illustrated through a series of case studies ripping open the experiences of Barcelona, Sochi, Rio, and London. Zimbalist finds no net economic gains for the countries that have played host to the Olympics or the World Cup. While the wealthy may profit, those in the middle and lower income brackets do not, and Zimbalist predicts more outbursts of political anger like that seen in Brazil surrounding the 2014 World Cup.
Article
This paper develops the notion of “event seizure” to better understand how mega-events, and the elites associated with them, take possession of host cities and societies—of development plans, funds and legislation—and impose their priorities on cities and citizens. It illustrates how event seizure plays out in the preparations for the Football World Cup 2018 in Russia, which is on course to become the most expensive World Cup ever with a total cost of about USD 20 billion. Drawing on government and FIFA documents, public statements from authorities and officials, and media coverage, the paper examines three different dimensions of event seizure. First, infrastructural seizure, where event-related infrastructure, particularly sports venues, crowd out infrastructure that serves wider urban needs. Second, financial seizure, where a close circle of political and business elites benefits from state funding, while the public underwrites cost overruns. Third and last, legal seizure, where the event introduces exceptional legislation, infringing citizen rights and compromising due oversight of event preparations.
Article
The rhetoric employed when cities bid for the right to host mega-events like the Olympic Games suggests that benefits will include improved infrastructure, investment in city infrastructure, and regeneration of neglected urban areas. However, the legacy of mega-events has historically been mixed; while some cities have been recognized for their development efforts, many others have been vilified for their subsequent actions, or lack thereof. The term legacy itself is, however, problematic; it presents a one-sided view of positive effects, without adequate consideration of downside risk in bidding. This research draws on interviews from people involved in six different mega-events and illustrates the challenges of addressing legacy with a variety of examples, including a detailed look at the London 2012 Olympic Games’ legacy negotiations regarding the use of the Olympic Stadium to gain insight into how legacy opportunities are developed. Drawing on the concept of uncomfortable knowledge, the dispute over the legacy use of the Olympic Stadium is used to examine the mixed perspectives of the different parties involved in decisions over mega-event legacies. We conclude by suggesting that unacknowledged interests, which remain constructively ambiguous during the bidding phase, create the opportunity for uncomfortable knowledge to arise in the planning process. The use of uncomfortable knowledge as a theoretical lens provides a useful construct to focus on the boundaries and limitations of knowledge in planning mega-events.
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The sports mega-events industry is in the midst of a significant reorganization, and the urban politics of event-led development planning is increasingly tumultuous. Three trends stand out: (1) the mega-events industry has been professionalized through consultancies, sports federations' urban policy programs, and city-to-city knowledge-sharing partnerships. (2) Critics of mega-events have been successful in drawing attention to state intervention and public subsidies involved in mega-event planning. (3) A proliferation of anti-bid social movements has pursued a form of urban politics, which more aggressively questions the legitimacy of using mega-events to pursue urban development. I evaluate the implications of these trends with a case study of a bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Boston. The failure of the Boston bid illustrates increasing tensions between cities and the mega-events industry.
Article
Problem, research strategy, and findings: Mega-events such as the Olympic Games and the Football World Cup have become complex and transformative undertakings over the last 30 years, with costs often exceeding USD $10 billion. These events are currently planned and governed in ways that produce adverse effects for cities, regions, and residents. This study identifies a mega-event syndrome, a group of symptoms that occur together and afflict mega-event planning, including overpromising benefits, underestimating costs, rewriting urban planning priorities to fit the event, using public resources for private interest, and suspending the regular rule of law. I describe each of these symptoms, providing empirical examples from different countries and mega-events, examining the underlying causes. The research is based on material from field visits to mega-event sites in 11 countries as well as 51 interviews with planners, managers, politicians, and consultants involved in mega-event planning. Takeaway for practice: To curb the mega-event syndrome, I propose both radical and incremental policy suggestions. The most crucial radical change that an event host could make is to not tie mega-events to large-scale urban development, avoiding higher risks that create cost overruns, substandard construction quality, and oversized infrastructure not suitable for post-event demands. Further, event hosts should bargain with event-governing bodies for better conditions, earmark and cap public sector contributions, and seek independent advice on the costs and benefits of mega-events. Event-governing bodies, for their part, should reduce the size and requirements of the events.
Article
However it may be defined, urban ‘development’ typically implies the production of durable legacies. Yet these legacies are often planned through contingent, temporary projects. The role of temporary projects in implementing urban development is often interpreted in linear fashion: projects are viewed as isolated events which incrementally work toward already-existing development agendas. I argue instead that temporary projects play a recursive role in development planning: interpreted as a series of interlinked projects, they not only support but also redefine agendas for durable development. I focus on one type of temporary project: (failed) bids to host the Olympics, which I assess through a comparative 20-year sample of bids and through case studies of failed bids in Doha (Qatar) and New York (USA). I show that event-led development planning leverages project contingency and policy failure to construct long-term development agendas, as cities bid multiple times and recycle plans across projects. The paper contributes to debates over the long-term impacts of speculation and experimentation in urban governance, by assessing the role of contingency in urban politics. Temporariness is an asset in urban politics which can be used to mitigate risk in speculative development planning: since Olympic bids often fail to secure hosting rights, references to the possibility of failure can insulate project planners from critique.
Article
Toronto has failed to secure the right to the host the Olympic Games on five different occasions (1960, 1964, 1976, 1996 and 2008). Toronto's Olympic bids do not emerge from a love of sport, instead they have been driven by the desire to use the Olympic Games as a vehicle to stimulate a large-scale redevelopment of Toronto's waterfront. This research demonstrates that sport and recreation are not seen as important pieces of the city's public infrastructure, and consequently Toronto has had to place its hope on the legacies of hosting (or winning), which even if successful, might represent a losing strategy for sport development.
Article
Chicago bid for, and was ultimately selected by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), the right to become an applicant city to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) subsequently approved Chicago as one of four candidate cities. This paper examines Chicago's ultimately failed bid in light of the multi-dimensional intersecting political and economic considerations on the part of the IOC, USOC, the Chicago2016 committee and the city as each pursued separate agendas shaped by their political economies. Disputes between the IOC and USOC relating to the appropriation of broadcast and sponsorship revenues and the character of Chicago's bid in light of the commercial emphasis and character of the Games by previous host U.S. host cities played prominent roles in explaining Chicago's failure. Other cities can learn from the Chicago experience, and this article is a primer on strategies applicant cities should avoid in the pursuit of Olympic gold.
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Recent studies have suggested that temporary geographical proximity in the form of face-to-face contact enhances learning. On the basis of a sample of individuals (n= 294) involved in knowledge transfer activities in the Olympic Games, this paper specifies regression models to predict learning. It finds that temporary geographical proximity acts as a rather weak predictor, although its explanatory value improves when coupled with organised proximity. Even then, it is only associated with tacit, not with explicit, mechanisms of learning and the effect disappears when controlling for other predictors. The paper concludes, however, that temporary geographical proximity might have an effect on learning that is mediated through other variables.
Article
With the shift of urban governance towards a more entrepreneurial mode in China, local governments and business interests have formed various coalitions of growth. These coalitions are widespread in China nowadays. The purpose of this article is to examine the nature of such growth coalitions through a case study of Nanjing's Olympic New Town. This growth coalition was built upon a mega-event, namely the Tenth National Sports Games in China. The marketing of this mega-event mobilised the interests of various governments, in particular the municipal government, and real-estate developers. However, when the mega-event was over and the property market faced a slowdown due to a tightening up of macro-economic policies by the central government, the coalition was quickly dismantled. The instability of the coalition has had some negative implications for urban development. This case study highlights the unstable nature of growth collations based on specific events.
Article
In recent years, there has been increased interest in the idea of promoting urban development and change through the hosting of major events. This approach offers host cities the possibility of "fast track" urban regeneration, a stimulus to economic growth, improved transport and cultural facilities, and enhanced global recognition and prestige. Many authors attribute the increased importance of event-led development to wider transformations in the global economy, such as post-Fordism and globalization. However, event-led development has a long history and can be recognized, for example, in the World Fairs of the nineteenth century. The Olympic Games, the world"s most prestigious sporting event, has been held for over one hundred years with significant consequences for the host cities. This paper reviews the effects of the Olympics on the urban environment of the various cities which have acted as hosts in the modern Olympic period (1896-1996). The material outlines the varied motivations for staging the Games and examines their outcomes in terms of urban development.
Article
This paper examines strategic planning in Sheffield, England around its hosting of the 1991 World Student Games, considering this before and after the mega-event. Aspects of strategic planning considered in this case study were identified from three theoretical perspectives on strategy: the classical, processual and systemic. The paper focuses on three aspects of Sheffield's strategic planning around the 1991 Games. The first aspect is the extent to which strategic planning was effective in linking the Games investment with the development of tourism for urban regeneration. The second is the degree to which there was a clear strategy around the Games investment both in advance of, and following, the Games. The third aspect is whether strategy emerged from formal analysis and decision-making or by learning, accident and political processes. The social and political circumstances affecting Sheffield's planning are also central to this assessment of strategy. The final part of the paper examines potential lessons from Sheffield's strategic planning.
Olympic Committee and Boston 2024 jointly end campaign for Boston to host 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games
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