The Olympics, also called Olympic Games are international events that happen every four years in which hundreds of countries are involved in the different sporting competitions. According to Kubo (2014 V.75) the Olympic Games are governed by the International Organizing Committee (IOC) which is the authoritative, non-governmental organization that oversees the Olympic Games, Olympism and the Olympic Movement.
The Olympic Games include; Winter Olympic Games that cover snow and ice sports, games for disabled athletes known as Paralympic Games, Youth Olympic Games for athletes between the ages of 14 an 18, the Five Continental games and the World Games for the sports excluded in the Olympic Games. The main target market for the Rio 2016 Olympics was the US Olympic sports fans. A research done on the brand destination showed positive interactions between branding of the Olympic Games and Brazil showed positive attitudes towards future tourism (Rocha& Fink 2017)
The FIFA World Cup was initially a part of the summer Olympic games but due to clamour to professionalize the sport, the body opted to organize the world cup during which only football would be played. The first world cup took place in 1930 hosted by Uruguay and the only participating nations were Yugoslavia, United States, Spain and the host. Since then the number of countries has grown considerably with the last world cup hosting 32 nations who had won in their specific divisions.
FIFA remains as the sole organizer of the event and also tasked with making sure that games are played fairly, the host country has adequate resources to host the event and also that the players are taken care off accordingly.
The focus of this paper will be Games of the XXXI Olympiad also known as The 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The 2016 Summer Olympics
The 2016 Summer Olympics commonly known as Rio 2016 were held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In these Olympics, 28 sports were featured with more than 11,000 athletes from more than 200 countries participating.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup
The world cup takes place after every 4 years with the last one being held in 2018 hosted by Russia. FIFA World cup 2018 featured 32 teams from that qualified from the specific divisions and was hosted across Russia as per the distribution of the arenas. The hosting cities were St Petersburg, Moscow, Kaliningard, Niz Novgorod, Samara, Saransk among others. (FIFA, 2018)
Getting a chance to host the Mega Sports Events is a coveted position for any nation due to the huge economic benefits that the host country is perceived to enjoy from the event.
To prepare for the world cup, it is estimated that the Russian government spent over $14.2 Billion of which 40% was from foreign investors. This went to the construction of stadia and improvement of others, infrastructure development like new terminals in airports, road expansion and medical infrastructure all because of the event. All this means that government expenditure into the projects provided their citizens with jobs which would boost the economy (Huijgens, 2018, July) The hosting cities usually sign agreements with FIFA and IOC committing to meet certain standards in areas like accommodation and airport capacities. This infrastructure, once put up is obviously permanent and it is usually too large to make any economic sense once the events are over (Alm, Solberg, Storm, & Jakobsen, 2014).
The costs of hosting The Summer Olympics range from $1.5billion to $2.5billion and revenues ranging from $3billion to $5billion. The Olympics leave the host country with multiple sports venues that have limited use and costly to maintain, low priority city developments and huge financial debts.(Zimbalist, 2017) Rio de Janeiro was adversely affected by the Olympics with its economy continuing to sink due to huge debts. Many workers that were involved in the games are yet to be paid (Amora, 2015). There was increased real estate speculation that resulted in rent spikes and new constructions like the Olympic Village in the areas where most of the venues and stadiums were located.
“Brazil has lost a great opportunity with the World Cup,” Rio’s mayor Eduardo Paes said, “FIFA asked for stadiums and Brazil has only delivered stadiums” (quoted in BBC, 2013). Brazilian authorities did not deliver close to 80% of the planned public transport projects (Amora, 2015).
International events come with social impacts and in Brazil one of the main impacts was displacement of residents to make room for Olympic stadiums and transport structures. Over 77,000 residents were displaced in different areas. There was also rise in violence and insecurity during Rio 2016 though athletic venues and stadiums were well secured.
It is estimated that more than 3 million people watched the match live during the world cup with the majority of them being foreigners; depending on how the visitor had perceived Russia and its citizens, its likely that perceptions were changed. The sun reported that Abramovich a Russian, the entrepreneur behind Chelsea football club sponsored 30 seriously kids and their caregivers from his native country of Israel to attend 3 games during the tournament, this means that there was an impact on philanthropy.
Internationally, the 2018 world cup saw women in Iran being allowed into the stadium for the very first time in history as their national took on Spain, this was a major development as it’s a right step towards gender equality in Iran.
Politically, the hosting countries get international recognition and they increase their public-private partnerships. This however, comes with increased corruption scandals, administrative costs and most times, unrealistic goals and expectations. Brazil The negative effects of hosting international sporting events are hard to escape but State-led economies experience more adverse impacts than those with market-led economies (Martin & Christopher 2018). There was impeachment in Brazil and this landed the country in a complex situation
The private players were investing in the major infrastructural projects were not necessarily doing so for a financial return but for political reasons. This gave a chance for the loyalists to show their position with the administration.
The positive environmental impacts of hosting these sporting events are the recovery of degraded areas and construction of new facilities. On the flipside, the environments end up with increased pollution, overcrowding and unutilized facilities (Scandizzo & Pierleoni,2017) 2018 world cup was the first event held since FIFA laid out the green requirements for stadia certification. This meant that Russia had no choice but to meet these requirements for the event to take place. For there to be positive environmental impact, the following was done:
Capitalizing on natural lighting as per the design which made sure that depending on the design of the building, natural light was sufficient which reduced reliance on electricity for lighting. Energy efficient building designs were also employed to reduce the amount of energy lost due to the design.
Watching football was almost a taboo in Russia and fans were perceived as drunks or thugs at worst but by the time the world-cup was coming to and end most Russians were turning up to cheer the national team making it a big cultural impact. Prior to FIFA World-Cup 2018, it had been thought that organization would suffer and that the necessary infrastructure would not be ready or up to standard. On the contrary, the event was quite successful which changed the perceptions of many around the world about Russia.
Rio 2016 gave Brazil an opportunity to showcase its rich cultural legacy to the world and to Brazilians themselves. This changed the perceptions of many around the world about Brazil and created awareness of what the country has to offer in the different aspects of tourism and more specifically through its rich culture.
Marketing Strategies Implemented to Promote Branding
Marketing for the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics begin as soon as the bids are won. The Rio Olympics used smart media strategies both on the internet through YouTube influencers and on television on major networks like NBC with the goal of attracting younger viewers. (RIO, 2015) The use of corporate sponsorships and advertising is also a strategy that was used by both FIFA 2018 and The 2016 Olympics. The sponsors are usually in different categories like Worldwide Olympic partners, official sponsors, official supports and official suppliers.
Both FIFA World cup and the Olympics use events branding for uniqueness and distinction which contributes to the fan experience all through the events.
FIFA has retail outlets that are licensed where official products are sold and a numismatic programme that has attracted many national mints. Coins and other products are used to mark these major events (FIFA, 2018) Virtual reality was also used for RIO 2016 where technology was used to recreate different sports for audiences in New York and a few athletes were present to interact one on one with the audience.
Scarcity Marketing strategy is used in both events as the organizers have over the years mastered the art of this strategy since the competition takes place after a few years and failing to attend one means waiting for more years for the next one “Scarcity of a quality product increases fans’ preferences for the product” (Kirk L. Wakefield, 2007).
Recommendations for Improvement
The first strategy that I would incorporate is opening ticket sales for the next event before the current event is over, this will take advantage of the emotions at the time of purchase. These can be offered at good discounts to attract as many people as possible
Sampling of attendees’ opinions during the event to get their suggestions of what should be maintained, changed completely or improved. These suggestions can be implemented in future events which would make the fans feel more involved in the organization. I would also maximize on E-Marketing which would include, websites, e-mails, search engines, online videos, tagging, Facebook, twitter, Instagram, podcasts, blogs and online technology. It is a fact that most of these have been used in the past but I would aim on optimizing their use to maximize benefits. This strategy would be beneficial for both the attendance but also for future tourism to the hosting countries.
Football has for a long time been marred by racism and violence, running a campaign that promotes oneness regardless of ethnicity would be a good social appeal which would also assist in brand promotion. This can be done by showcasing past events with different ethnicities visibly having a time of their life while watching one of the games.
The ‘Instant replay’ technology introduced during the 2018 world cup was meant to settle disputes on the field whenever they occur but this has led to more contentious issues arising whenever the technology is used. I would therefore advocate for a friendlier, and seamless solution counter the effects of ‘Instant replay’
The 2016 Olympic Games and the 2018 FIFA World Cup had diverse impacts on the host countries. This paper has looked at the background of the two events, their impacts in specific areas.
Economically we saw how the perception of positive impact can be deceiving. Politically and socially we saw benefits like putting the hosting country on the map hence more international recognition. Lastly, we looked how the environment is impacted through infrastructural improvements but at the same time affected by the large crowds and pollution.
We have also seen that different marketing strategies were used to promote branding that included media strategies, corporate sponsorships, events branding and retail outlets, virtual reality and scarcity marketing. I have given specific recommendations on the areas of improvement that would ensure maximum of repeat and new attendees. These strategies include; selling tickets for the next event and sampling attendees opinions and getting suggestions on areas of improvement. I would also show case the synergy of the different cultures represented in the attendees to show unity.
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