Virtual Special Issue: Olympics and Sporting Mega-Events: Current Insights and Future Directions

International Journal of Event and Festival Management

As the 2024 Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games approach, we have compiled a virtual special issue on the Games from our journal archives. The research published in IJEFM has approached the Olympics from a myriad of topics and perspectives, from how residents can leverage the Games for their benefit through social capital and destination branding to the kinds of legacies left behind for its workforce and communities. In particular, an overarching theme has been the sustainability of these mega-events from the three pillars of sustainability. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has initiated reforms under the Agenda 2020+5 framework, aiming to make the Games more sustainable, economically viable, and socially responsible. These include encouraging the use of existing and temporary venues, promoting sustainability and environmental conservation, and enhancing transparency in the bidding process.

The complexity of these mega-events also presents numerous perspectives that have yet to be fully investigated. Within this set of research articles, authors suggest further analysis into the motivations, assessments, and factors influencing decisions from various stakeholders, including attendees, residents, members of the organising committee, and volunteers. In particular, while such events are temporary by nature, the impacts of these events can potentially be long-lasting, which underscores the importance of legacy and attendant studies about what these large-scale events leave behind for their hosts. A longitudinal perspective would similarly shed light on how these relationships and outcomes transform, evolve and are perceived differently over time, from before the event to after they leave. 

Indeed, we are now seeing many potential host destinations unsure whether these mega-events are financially viable. Hosting the Olympics often involves significant financial investment in infrastructure, security, and facilities. There have been instances where the costs have far exceeded the initial budgets, leaving host cities with substantial debts and underused facilities. In the context of the climate crisis, the environmental impact of the Games is a growing concern. The construction of new venues and the influx of visitors can lead to significant environmental degradation, including habitat destruction, pollution, and increased carbon emissions. There is a push for the Games to adopt more sustainable practices, including utilising existing facilities, minimising waste, and reducing carbon footprints. The Olympic Games are no stranger to controversies related to human rights, including displacement of local communities, exploitation of workers, and restrictions on free speech and protests. Ensuring that the Games contribute positively to the social fabric of the host community is an ongoing challenge. Indeed, the selection of host cities cannot be divorced from international politics. Advances in technology present both challenges and opportunities for the Olympics, from enhancing the viewing experience to addressing concerns about cybersecurity and the integrity of competition. This remains a relatively under-researched area thus far. One might also question the relevance of the Olympics in a changing global sports landscape. Engaging younger audiences, adapting to changes in media consumption habits, and addressing the interests of a diverse global audience are challenges for the IOC.

If you have research that examines the Olympics or other mega-events, including the topics suggested above, we invite you to submit your manuscript to IJEFM.

Dr Faith Ong and Dr Louise Platt

Co-Editors, International Journal of Event and Festival Management

All papers in this special issue will be free to access between 22nd July and 12th August 2024.

Policy pragmatism: Qatar and the global events circuit
Malcolm Foley, David McGillivray, Gayle McPherson 

Mega-event volunteers, similar or different? Vancouver 2010 vs London 2012
Tracey J. Dickson, Angela M. Benson, F. Anne Terwiel

Perceived organizational support on episodic volunteers' affective and behavioral outcomes: a case of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games
Doyeon Won, Weisheng Chiu, Hyejin Bang, Gonzalo A. Bravo

Examining the stress and coping process of mega‐event employees
Michael A. Odio, Matthew Walker, May Kim

A neglected legacy: Examining the challenges and potential for sport tourism development in post‐Olympic Athens
Vassilios Ziakas, Nikolaos Boukas

Now what? An assessment of perceived legacies post-Olympic cycle
Rodrigo Feller, Robert M. Turick, Khirey B. Walker, Benjamin J. Downs 

Towards a conceptual definition of intangible Olympic legacy
Vassil Girginov, Holger Preuss 

A review and synthesis of environmentalism within the Olympic Movement
Anthony Gino Del Fiacco, Madeleine Orr

Semiotic representations of Olympic mascots revisited: Virtual mascots of the games 2006-2012
Peter Knight, Ina Freeman, Stephen Stuart, Gerald Griggs, Norm O’Reilly

Impacts of host city image in the country destination branding in sport mega-event context: exploring cognitive and affective image dimensions
Luciana Brandão Ferreira, Janaina de Moura Engracia Giraldi, Vish Maheshwari, Jorge Henrique Caldeira de Oliveira 

The role of the media in influencing residents' support for the 2012 Olympic Games
Brent W. Ritchie, Richard Shipway, P. Monica Chien 

Event leveraging of mega sport events: a SWOT analysis approach
Kostas Karadakis, Kiki Kaplanidou, George Karlis

Leveraging tourism social capital: the case of the 2010 Olympic tourism consortium
Peter W. Williams, Aliaa Elkhashab 

A longitudinal study of the impact of the Sydney Olympics on real estate markets
Qiang (Steven) Lu, Yupin Yang