Edited by Sten Söderman and Harald Dolles
Chapter 15: Social impacts of hosting major sport events: the impact of the 2007 arrival of a stage of the Tour de France on the city of Ghent
In this chapter, we examine the social impact of the arrival of the Tour de France in Ghent. More specifically, residents’ perceptions towards the impact of the arrival of the Tour de France in Ghent are studied before and after the arrival of the event. There is strong competition between cities and communities to host major sport events. The main reason why cities compete against each other to host major sport events is that it is expected that hosting major sport events will generate benefits for the community (Dolles and Söderman, 2008a, 2008b, 2011; Gratton et al., 2005; Kim et al., 2006; Maenning and Du Plessis, 2007). In contrast to the Olympic Games and the Football World Cup which take place every four years, the Tour de France (TDF) is an annual cycling event. The majority of the stages starts in one city and ends in another hosting city. A stage of the TDF lasts only one day, whereas most other sporting events last for several days at the same location. Although cities hosting a stage of the TDF have very limited time to realize their objectives, there is a high level of competition among cities and towns to host a stage of the TDF. The prestige of hosting the TDF, the perceived beneficial impacts and the intense media attention are the main drivers to bid for a stage (Bull and Lovell, 2007).
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