Chapter 16: What do they really think? Researching residents’ perception of mega-sport events
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Sport mega-events including the Olympic Games and Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup are intrusive by their very nature, bringing large numbers of visitors and media in contact with local residents for a relatively short period of time, impacting the host’s culture, economy and environment. At the pre-bid stage, an Olympic Games is ‘sold’ to residents on the basis of anticipated economic benefits (that is, employment, visitor spending, direct foreign investments, and so on), improved infrastructure and quality of life, and enhanced city image. Residents’ perceptions of major sport events should be assessed due to these impacts, yet residents are often overlooked as event stakeholders. Residents experience at first hand the impacts of an Olympic Games and are in a unique position to evaluate an event’s legacy as taxpayers, daily consumers of infrastructure and leisure consumers of Olympic sport venues. From a strategic management standpoint, it behoves a local organizing committee to communicate with residents, particularly if investments of up to $US50 billion (the cost to produce the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games) are at stake!

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