Table of Contents

International Handbook on the Economics of Mega Sporting Events

International Handbook on the Economics of Mega Sporting Events

Elgar original reference

Edited by Wolfgang Maennig and Andrew Zimbalist

From the Olympics to the World Cup, mega sporting events are a source of enjoyment for tens of thousands of people, but can also be a source of intense debate and controversy. This insightful Handbook addresses a number of central questions, including: How are host cities selected and under what economic conditions? How are these events organized, and how is local resistance overcome? Based on historical and empirical experience, what are the pitfalls for the organizers of these events? What are the potential economic benefits, including any international image effects? How can the costs be minimized and the benefits maximized for host cities and countries? How do these mega events impact the challenges of globalization and what is their environmental legacy?

Chapter 1: Introduction: The Economics of Mega Sporting Events

Wolfgang Maennig and Andrew Zimbalist

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics, sports


Wolfgang Maennig and Andrew Zimbalist As globalization proceeds, the potential audience for sporting events grows, especially those events that project beyond local or national boundaries. The cumulative television viewership for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, for instance, is estimated to have reached 4.7 billion people, while that for the 64 matches played in the 2006 German World Cup is 26 billion.1 No one would question the cultural and social significance of such an event. Yet it is also estimated that China spent upwards of $40 billion in preparing for and hosting the 2008 Games. Few would question that such an event also has economic and environmental significance. It is also true that while no sporting event parallels the Olympic Games in its reach, there are a large and growing number of sporting events with audiences in the tens of millions. These events each have their own design, their own processes for selecting participants and host cities or countries and their own impact on social, economic and environmental conditions. In former decades, the scholarly analysis of mega sporting events such as the Olympic Games or the Soccer World Cup has been dominated by historians, educators, and philosophers. Today, scholarly analysis of mega sporting events has also turned to consider potential employment and income effects, psychic and marketing benefits, urban branding and transformation, corruptive elements in the bidding processes, among other subjects that are ripe for economic inquiry. Accordingly, there has been growing attention within governmental and academic circles that...