Holding major sports events can have a myriad of implications to the host country. Before hand, it is usually difficult to predict and asses the impacts of holding these sports events. The Olympic Games, for example, represent unity, pride, and athleticism. In 2020, the city of Tokyo in Japan will hold the Olympics. The last time Tokyo held the Olympic Games was in 1964. In 2020, the Olympics will feature 33 games. They include aquatics, archery, athletics, badminton, baseball/softball, basketball, boxing, canoe, cycling, equestrian, fencing, football, golf, gymnastics, handball, hockey, judo, karate, modern pentathlon, rowing, rugby, sailing, shooting, skateboarding, sport climbing, surfing, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon, volleyball, weightlifting, and wrestling. The Event Programme for the Tokyo 2020 Games Finalised! (p.1) indicates that across all the sports, there will be a total of 10, 616 athletes who will participate in the games. Even though the city, athletes, and fans are looking forward to attending the Olympic Games in 2020, there are many implications. The paper discusses the social, political, and economic implications of planning major sports events.
Implications for Planning Major Sports Events
Hosting major sports events result in social change. Smith (p.111) affirms that sports events usually ensure that neo-liberal ideologies prevail. The author indicates that it occurs when cities are forced to compete against each other. He explains that when cities compete against each other, they impress outside interests while providing resident with entertaining distractions. The author describes the events as hegemonic powers, which makes urban residents forget about the real social problems by shifting their attention from their social needs. Due to that, the urban communities maintain social unity. In the case of 2020 Olympics in Japan, it is a prediction that the events will loosen the rural-urban divide. Furthermore, major sports events lead to electrifying forms of social membership and identities (Smith p.112). According to the author, when cities hold major sports events, the likelihood of people improving social relations is high. Besides that, hosting major events result in social control. The author indicates that it helps marginalized groups by bringing them closer together.
On the other hand, a potential negative social implication is that it might lead to urban social divisions. During the preparations of major sports events, the government usually displaces communities because they need to build infrastructures. As Smith (p.112) avers, the displacement infringes the rights of citizens. The infringement of their rights will eventually result in a decrease in social networks.
When hosting major sports events, a country experiences civic pride. The commitment exhibited by the host countries is always exemplary. Through the commitment, the host countries manage to showcase themselves to other countries. Grix (p.1) affirms that when they showcase themselves internationally, it develops in an increase in "soft power." Essentially, their desire to gain power is always immense. According to Xu (p.92), sport enhances politics. The author talks about diplomacy by using China as a case study. As he explains, the motivation behind holding mega sports events is to generate soft power in the international community. When China held the summer Olympic Games in 2008, it managed to gain status in a favorable way. Besides that, hosting major sports events result in political democratization and liberalization of the host city. Bowersox (p.263) indicates that hosting major events affects a country's repression of its citizens. As he explains, when a country holds major sports events, they gain international attention, which in turn results in few physical repression and limited empowerment rights.
Most host countries invest billion in infrastructures, communication systems, transport systems, housing, and buildings. In the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, the economic benefits will be impacted by their size of investments. Overmyer (p.5) articulates that the economic benefits associated with Summer Olympic Games include ticket sales, licensing, increased employment, revenue, sponsorship, and tourism. As the author adds, the best case scenario for the benefits involve the influx in tourism, active promotion of the city and country as a whole as well as the direct revenues and taxes to the city and entire country (p.6). According to Thorne (p.1), the long-term economic implications of hosting major sports events include new infrastructure and land regeneration.
On the other hand, holding major sports events can have negative impacts on the economy. Overmyer (p.7) affirms that during the preparations of the events, the government goes at a huge loss spending money. The author asserts that during spending, the government increases taxes or minimizes spending on other projects, which eventually results in opportunity costs on sectors such as healthcare and education. Furthermore, the author indicates that the maintenance of Olympic facilities that will not be used after the games is costly. As he explains, the host cities end up experiencing cost overrun.
Since there are both positive and negative impacts of holding a major sports event such as the Olympic Games, the host countries can undertake specific actions to receive positive impacts. The following are some recommendations that Tokyo, Japan should undertake to ensure positive results
- Revisit its previous Olympic Games to evaluate its implications
- Investigate and evaluate all the impacts of holding major sports events.
- Focus on increasing the number of people who will attend the sports events to enhance their economic impacts.
Both the national and municipal government spends a lot of money to host major sports events. Considering all the major sports events in aggregate, the benefits associated with hosting these games usually outweigh its costs. However, determining all the implications of hosting the major sports events in advance does prove challenging because of the conflicting data of previous events and the reliability of approximating accumulative impacts. Due to that, host countries have to utilize their resources to ensure that the implications result in sustainability. Particularly, it is hopeful that the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo will result in sustainable development and positive implications.
Andrew, Smith. "Theorising the Relationship between Major Sport Events and Social Sustainability." Journal of Sport and Tourism 14:2-3, 109-120, DOI: 10.1080/14775080902965033. 2009.
Bowersox, Zack. "Naming, Shaming, and International Sporting Events: Does the Host Nation Play Fair?" Political Research Quarterly 69(2):258-269. 2016
Grix, Jonathan. "The Politics of Sporting Mega Events: do the benefits justify the budgets?" University of Birmingham. Accessible at https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/news/thebirminghambrief/items/2012/01/05jan12-sportmegaevents.aspx
Overmyer, Michael. "Economic Impact Analysis on Olympic Host Cities." Honors Projects. 647. 2017. Accessible at https://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1646&context=honorsprojects
"The Event Programme for the Tokyo 2020 Games Finalised!" 2017. Accessible at https://tokyo2020.org/en/news/notice/20170610-01.html
Thorne, Russ. "Economic impact of sporting events." Independent. Accessible at https://www.independent.co.uk/student/shu/economic-impact-of-sporting-events-10260570.html
Xu, Xin. "Modernizing China in the Olympic spotlight: China's national identity and the 2008 Beijing Olympiad." The Sociological Review 54(s2):90-107. 2006.
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