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Major Sports Events and Regional Development

Modern sport has acquired enormous economic importance, become a medium of the entertainment industry and taken on a role with regard to health and social policies. Almost all countries try to use sport, especially major events, as tools for boosting local development. There are many examples of cities and their surrounding regions profiting from the Olympic Games, the FIFA World Cup and other events. But governments are also finding that such events have costs and risks.

For example, several Olympic host cities have suffered financial losses associated with the organisation of the Games. Although research on the benefits of sports events can be questioned, because it is often commissioned by clients seeking to justify expenditures to political constituencies, it has led to the identification of certain positive effect areas. These are examined with special attention to the Olympics and the most recent summer Games, those in Beijing in 2008.

The author then examines major athletics events, focusing on the different levels of public funding for recent editions of the IAAF World Championships in Athletics and predicts that future events of this nature will require funding from the national (as opposed to city) level.