management, in particular the management of mega events. It also delves deeply into the positives and negatives of the London Olympic Games and the 2006 World Cup events in Germany. Those who manage mega events have an enormous task and an almost impossible responsibility to the public, to those participating in the events, and to the countries where mega events take place. Those issues and more are covered in this paper.
Theoretically review the key aspects of event management
Form and Function
Theoretically an event is a kind of convergence, according to Professor Donald Getz (School of Tourism, The University of Queensland); it is a blending of forms and functions, and those in turn converge into a worthwhile experience for the tourist / participant. Getz uses two huge events to illustrate how form and function come together to produce a grand experience for the attendee. He points to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, which was consistent with all Olympics’ Games in that its function was ostensibly to present competition between the world’s best athletes. But in addition, the 2012 Summer Games had a form that extended the function well beyond athletic competition.
Indeed, the International Olympic Committee dictates that every Olympics will have a festival (form) involving the arts, and in London, for the four years leading up to the 2012 Summer Games, offered “â€¦dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, film and digital innovation” (Gets, 2012, p. 42). The form of the 2012 Summer Games included everything from a circus and carnival to fashion shows, pop music, films, opera and more, Getz explains (42). A nearly unbelievable amount of events preceded the pragmatic function of the Games — over 1,000 in all — which the organizers used in order to leave what Getz calls a “lasting legacy for the arts in the UK” (42).
The other event Getz references to show his theory that form and function are integral parts of a large event is the Kentucky Derby Festival that happens each spring in Louisville, Kentucky. Of course the Kentucky Derby (the “run for the roses”) is considered the premier event in thoroughbred horse racing, but the horse race itself (held on the first Saturday in May at the iconic Churchill Downs) is only part of the entertainment. In the two weeks leading up to the Derby the organizers provide a festival that includes more than 70 events, including: an air show, one of the nation’s largest fireworks shows, basketball, volleyball, musical concerts, a hot air balloon event, and even “â€¦live bed racing” (Getz, 42). The professor’s point is well made when he says the theory of convergence helps events achieve “â€¦wider appeal and greater impact by combining elements of style and forms” (Getz, 43).
Getz theorizes that “surprise” is an important element of any successful event (193). He notes that “staging the unexpected” builds on customer satisfaction because they are getting what they expected — and more. Departing from the original script of the event can be “risky,” the professor continues, but it can contribute to the positive impression and add to the sensory stimulation of the event (193).
In the book Event Management and Sustainability the authors (professors at Leeds Metropolitan University in the UK) present a theory that digs deeply into the organic roots of event management. They discuss “sustainable event management” which entails “multidimensional” concepts wrapped around the three “pillar impacts” — which are economic, social, and environmental considerations (Raj, et al., p. 3, 2009). In other words, for an event to be sustainable it must have solid economic planning (the most obvious element), it must have positive social impacts, and should also raise awareness of environmental issues. Raj asserts that the social elements of large events are often “neglected and often ambiguous” — and this means that people of all socioeconomic backgrounds should be served as well as those who are more affluent.
The sustainable theory posits that “social inclusion within events” should include: a) awareness of the needs of all groups in attendance; b) “creation of a structured policy statement” that ensures a quality and equitable experience for everyone; and c) methodical training for everyone working on the event (volunteers, vendors, staff) to ensure fairness and fun for all (Raj, 4).
Tacit and Advancement Knowledge
Another theoretical aspect involved in good event management posits that “in-depth experiential knowledge” is necessary to generate the kind of perspectives and understandings that give event managers a “competitive advantage” in their field (Mallen, et al., 2013, p. 14). Within the experiential knowledge that the authors are alluding to are “advancement knowledge” (this provides “highly framed quick insights, understandings and intuition” which helps when decisions must be made), and “tacit knowledge” (what an individual has in his or her mind about “perspectives, beliefs and models”) (Mallen, 15).
Basically Mallen’s explanation is that advancement knowledge is a “learned practice” that brings to mind the “subtle details of how to be efficient, effective and successful” — and is learned over a period of years — but isn’t easily transferred to another person. This is important when viewing the potential success and appeal of a given event (15).
For an event manager, tacit knowledge of events probably makes sense “intuitively,” but on a practical level a manager may have a difficult time figuring out “â€¦how to use it” (von Krough, et al., 2000, p. 7). Passing tactic knowledge along to those working with or under an event manager requires “â€¦extended conversations and good personal relationships” which comes down to “knowledge enabling” (von Krough, 7). As to the usefulness of tacit knowledge, von Krough suggests that it may be “â€¦too mysterious to be usefully or consistently applied to a business situation” (7). That said, tacit knowledge of events — albeit it can have a “shifting, context-specific quality” — can become a “powerful tool for innovation” in events, von Krough asserts on page 7.
Professor Philippe Baumard explains tacit knowledge by comparing it to a chess grand master. An amateur chess player considers far more potential moves than does a grand master, because a grand master’s knowledge of “â€¦the probability of success or failure of different plays is tacit” (Baumard, 1999). That is, the amateur chess player is searching the board for solution but the grand master recalls strategies from his “implicit memory” so he doesn’t have to “reiterate arguments in full” (Baumard). In other words, the grand master — like the experienced event manager who has been putting on events for years — knows “â€¦a lot more” than he can explain or express, Baumard explains.
The Appraisal theory is relevant as a theoretical aspect of an event manager because in theory every event is planned with the goal of evoking smiles and happiness through positive stimulus. In other words, the great majority of events — especially big events like the Olympics, the World Cup, and concerts with well-know stars performing — are designed not just to entertain but to leave a feeling of joy though positive emotional responses.
The way the Appraisal theory works and how it is manifested is that every attendee at every event has an emotional response to the entertainment he or she is participating in. Emotions are triggered by the stimuli presented at the event, and “â€¦individuals should experience emotional responses to the social context of interactions” within an event, and that goes beyond the stimuli that affect them as individuals (Urda, et al., 2005).
Clearly the event manager has expectations that his or her event is going to trigger positive emotions in those attending the event. In that context, Urda posits that by “â€¦understanding the mechanisms underlying emotions, managers have an additional toolâ€¦” to use in influencing not only the attendees but the staff and volunteers working on the event (Urda, 3).
The authors break the Appraisal theory down: a) attendees at an event “â€¦perceive a stimulus and evaluate it according to [their] internalized goals”; b) their evaluation is an appraisal and their current state of emotional response is [internally] compared with the “desired goal” [how they expected to respond to the event before attending]; and c) the internalized comparison of what they expected with what they are experiencing at the event “â€¦triggers the emotions appropriate for readying the body for actionâ€¦” and hence, whatever discrepancy exists between what the attendee expected and what the attendee actually experienced is reconciled (Urda, 4). .
The theory put forward by Urda and colleagues can be useful for the event manager because whatever the event is, it has been designed to elicit stimulus — hopefully positive stimulus — from those paying to get in (or in the case of a free festival, from all attending the event). To be sure, triggering emotions for those attending an event is “â€¦a complex and constantly shifting process during which several emotions may be triggered at once and may be combined,” Urda continues (7). Attendees may not report to staff, volunteers and managers what stimuli they have experienced — and in addition to the stimulus and appraisal that the attendees experience vis-a-vis the event, they are also appraising (internally) the “â€¦social context” of which they are a part.
Compare two mega events and review their positive and negative aspects.
This paper compares the 2006 FIFA World Cup (held in Germany) and the 2012 London Olympics, using several aspects of those mega events in comparison and contrast.
Security / Risk Management
One of the most important aspects of a mega event is security. Without good planning, an event can be profitable and yet it can also receive very negative publicity and hence be ruined in a public relations aspect. These huge mega events attract protest groups and sometimes terrorists who wish to interrupt the games and make their points through the media’s coverage of their sometimes nefarious activities. Conditions of “risk and uncertainty” are both evident at a mega event, and the way in which those risks are handled often ends up being one of the main stories in the aftermath of those events.
Risk management is just one of the burdens on the shoulders of an executive who is managing a mega event; the event manager must prioritize how to manage those risks, and must select “â€¦indicators to monitor and evaluate information about risk,” and must use informed policies and “organizational instruments” in order to “mitigate threats or hazards” in order to modify the illegal and unethical behaviors that might be spawned by the above-mentioned interlopers (Jennings, et al., 2011, p. 197). The authors explain that making the Olympics and the World Cup secure are two very different challenges.
For example, on page 199, Jennings points out that international football (i.e., soccer) tournaments are generally associated with “â€¦problems of public disorder, violence and organized hooliganism.” Anyone who, over the past ten or fifteen years, has watched soccer tournaments in Europe, South America or Africa, has seen examples of hooligans doing their nefarious deeds: they fight, they attack innocent attendees, they interrupt proceedings with outrageous acts of violence and indecency. Before a match, when there are large crowds of supporters of the team the hooligans are out to defeat congregating outside the facility, hooligans have been known to cause injuries through their mayhem.
These behaviors contrast sharply with the Olympic Games, Jennings explains; the Olympics brings a “â€¦more diverse mix of local and transnational audiences that do not support athletes or teams in such a partisan and nationalistic fashion” (199). That having been said, it should also be mentioned that while the hooligans have disrupted myriad soccer events, they have not succeeded in disrupting World Cup events, and this is likely due to the tight security that responded to risk management profiles prior to the World Cup events.
The Olympics, on the other hand, has been the scene of brutal, bloody attacks in several instances, Jennings continues. In the Mexico Games (1968), riots disrupted the proceedings; in the 1972 Munich Games there was a massacre of Israeli athletes; and in 1996 there was a bombing in Centennial Park in Atlanta (Jennings, 199).
London 2012 — Security — Finances — Positives & Negatives
According to Jennings, the London Games offered 26 different sports at 312 competition venues, and it took place over 17 days of competition (200). There were an estimated 204 countries that participated; there were 10,500 athletes, 6,000 coaches and officials, 20,000 media members covering the Games, and about half a million visitors each day (200). The Games were expected to be policed by about 15,000 law enforcement officers, 6,500 private security guards and members of the British military.
But in fact, the London Daily Telegraph (Chan, 2013) reported that the International Security firm, G4S, which was to be the “official” security provider, announced on July 11, 2012, that it could not provide the 23,700 security it had promised. In fact after the costs to hire G4S rose from Â£7.3m to Â£60m (confidential documents obtained by the Telegraph showed that Â£34m of the increase in costs was in large part due to the G4S bureaucracy), and the British government and local Olympic committed were outraged over the costs, another stark reality hit home. To wit, G4S announced that it “â€¦would not be able to deliver the numbers of security personnel that they had promised” (Chan, 2013).
The G4S announcement resulted in the British government bringing in 3,500 troops for security duty at “the 11th hour” — which caused G4S to say it “deeply regrets” the issues that were created due to its inability to provide the protection it had promised (Chan, 2). It was what Chan calls a “security fiasco” and it resulted in the G4S market value being “wiped off” in two days (2). This was clearly a negative in terms of the pessimistic publicity generated by the failure of an international security firm to deliver promised security.
According to the NBC affiliate in London, the Games featured the “â€¦biggest peacetime security operation in Britain’s history” (Jamieson, et al., 2012). The security — including the military and civilian costs — are estimated to have been in the neighborhood of $877 million; moreover, in order to provide what the British government and Olympic officials believes would be adequate security, more than 11 miles of razor-wire-topped electric fencing surrounded the entire Olympic venue (Jamieson, 1).
With 12,500 police officers and over 12,000 soldiers (recruited after G4S admitted it could not come up with adequate numbers), the event managers believed this would be adequate, and it appears it was adequate. Still, people at shopping centers a great distance from the Olympic venues were shocked to see police carrying “â€¦9mm semi-automatic weapons,” and most London streets were “turned into military zones” while the Olympic venues themselves were turned into “fortresses” (Jamieson, 1).
The greatest controversy that the event managers had to contend with, according to the NBC report, was the 1,850 closed-circuit television camera that fed “â€¦pictures back across London to the joint police and government control center at New Scotland Yard” (Jamieson, 2). The images that were sent to the central location at Scotland Yard were also available to “â€¦hundreds of CIA, FBI, and TSA officials” from the U.S. that were flown into London to help with the Games’ security, Jamieson continued on page 3). The fear of “Big Brother” taking over a mega event was felt and expressed by many people in Britain during the Games.
“Of course the Olympics need to be secure; but there is a danger of losing sight of all proportion,” said Nick Pickles, an advocate for less surveillance with the “Big Brother Watch” in London (Jamieson, 4). “It would be a sad indictment of modern Britain if the lasting legacy of the Games is an unwarranted security and surveillance infrastructure” (Jamieson, 4).
There are good reasons why Olympic officials working with British law enforcement agencies agreed to all the surveillance cameras, starting with the ongoing fear of new terrorist attacks and with the recollections of the subway bombings of 2005 fresh in the minds of citizens and security officials. In July, 2005, 52 Britons were killed and 770 were injured in terrorist bombings in the underground trains and on a double-decker bus (BBC News).
On the positive side of the 2012 London Games, an article in the peer-reviewed journal Professional Safety shows that the London Organizing Committee (LOCOG) made the Games the “most sustainable to date.” The standard set by the LOCOG included “â€¦a framework for reducing costs, carbon emissions and waste, managing the biodiversity of venues, and achieving a diverse and inclusive workforce” (Professional Safety). Another positive of course was the financial outcome from the London Games: Tourist spending at the Games “â€¦may have helped lift the British economy out of recession” since tourists spend about “double” the amount of other visitors to the Games (Telegraph). In fact, an estimated 590,000 tourists on hand for the Games spent an average of Â£1,290 during their attendance; other visitors spent just Â£650, according to the Telegraph.
The 2006 World Cup — Security — Finances — Positives & Negatives
Jennings reports that in the 2006 World Cup event in Germany there were 64 soccer matches that involved 32 teams from around the world; the matches were held in 12 different stadiums in 12 different cities and it took place over a month’s time. In each match, there were approximately 52,000 fans in the seats (200). When comparing the security problems presented in London with the issues in 12 cities in Germany, it was clearly a far more daunting task to secure the Games in 2012 than the World Cup in 2006. In Germany it was a matter of “â€¦maintaining public order and effective crowd management” in each of the cities. The German national government signed bilateral agreements with 36 other nations to minimize any security risks; that is, noted trouble-makers (hooligans) from certain groups of fans were identified and careful watch was conducted in each of Germany’s 12 World Cup venues.
The financial success of the 2006 World Cup seems to have been very positive; it cost the country 3.7 billion Euros, but the four-week tournament created 50,000 new jobs, brought in 300 million Euros ($399 million) in revenue, and added 2 billion Euros to retail sales (DW). Further, the World Cup Organizing Committee netted 56.6 million Euros and the Committee paid 44 million Euros in taxes (DW). In another positive ramification of the Cup, 15 million more visitors to Germany than had been predicted. There was a “minimum of disorder” thanks to the international cooperation through bilateral agreements mentioned earlier.
The positives include the fact that Germany brought in “â€¦570 operatives” from 13 European countries and “36 operatives” from other nations — all to deal with potential hooligans. It worked, because security officials figured groups of rowdy fans would be less confrontational with security forces of their own nationality than they would with “German forces” (Hilgers, et al., 2010, p. 16). There were so few negatives that it isn’t worth bringing them into the paper.
Discuss how mega events can assist the destination branding
Those in the destination / hospitality industry should use the extraordinary number of positives from the 2006 World Cup and the 2012 London Games to brand their promotions. An article in the peer-reviewed Journal of Sport & Tourism suggest that by using the remarks and reports positives from those who visited Germany from New Zealand. Respondents reported that Germany was a “less expensive, more friendly and [more] multi-cultured place” than they had previously believed (Florek, et al., 2008).
As to the London Olympic Games, a writer in The Guardian wrote: The Games will “â€¦mark the end of Britain’s age of decline”; an editorial in Pakistan’s paper, Dawn, explained: “To the credit of the organizers, the Games were kept incident-free and, for once, politics and terrorism took a back seat as the world focused on the triumphs and tears of sport” (BBC News).
Suggest ways to manage mega events to destination marketing managers
First of all, destination marketing managers need to do their homework and travel to places where successful mega events have been held and learn how it was done from marketing people who did it. Secondly, it would show good judgment for destination marketing managers to hire key people who have conducted highly successful mega events, whether those managers are from South Africa (World Cup, 2010), London, or elsewhere vis-a-vis mega events.
The enormous responsibility that is on the shoulders of event managers who produce mega events
Baumard, P. (1999). Tacit Knowledge in Organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
BBC News. (2005). Four suicide bombers struck in central London on Thursday, July 7,
killing 52 people and injuring more than 770. Retrieved September 30, 2013, from http://news.bbc.co.uk.
BBC News (2012). London 2012: How the world saw the Olympic Games. Retrieved September
30, 2013, from http://www.bbc.co.uk.
Chan, S.P. (2013). Timeline: how G4S’s bungled Olympics security contract unfolded.
‘. Retrieved September 30, 2013, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk.
DW. (2006). Germany’s World Cup Report Hails Economic, Social Success. Retrieved September 30, 2013, from http://www.dw.de.
Florek, M., Breitbarth, T., and Conejo, F. (2008). Mega Events = Mega Impact? Travelling
Fans’ Experience and Perceptions of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Host Nation. Journal of Sport & Tourism, 13(3), 199-219.
Getz, D. (2012). Event Studies: Theory, Research and Policy for the Planned Events. Florence,
Hilgers, D., Maenning, W., and Porsche, M. (2010). The Feel-Good Effect at Mega Sports
Events: Public and Private Management Problems Informed by the Experience of the FIFA
World Cup 2006 in Germany. International Journal of Business Research, 10(4), 15-29.
Jamieson, A., and Newbert, M. (2012). Fortress London: UK protects Olympics with biggest security plan since World War II. NBC News. Retrieved September 30, 2013, from http://worldnews.nbcnews.com.
Jennings, W., and Lodge, M. (2011). Governing Mega-Events: Tools of Security Risk
Management for the FIFA 2006 World Cup in Germany. Government and Opposition, 46(2),
Mallen, C., and Adams, L. (2013). Event Management in Sport, Recreation and Tourism:
Theoretical and Practical Dimensions. Florence, KY: Routledge.
Professional Safety. (2012). London 2012 Adopts Global Sustainability Standard. Retrieved September 30, 2013, from http://www.asse.org.
Raj. R., and Musgrave, J. (2009). Event Management and Sustainability. Oxfordshire, UK: CABI
The Telegraph. (2012). Tourist spending spree at London 2012 Olympics boosts UK economy.
Retrieved September 30, 2013, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk.
Urda, J., and Loch, C. (2005). Appraisal Theory and Social Appraisals: How an Event’s Social
Context Triggers Emotions. INSEAD. Retrieved September 30, 2013, from http://www.insead.edu.
Von Krough, G., Ichijo, K. And Nonaka, I. (2000). Enabling Knowledge Creation: How to Unlock the Mystery of Tacit Knowledge and Release the Power of Innovation. New York:
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