Tourists' consumption and interpretation of sport event imagery

Smith, Andrew (2006) Tourists' consumption and interpretation of sport event imagery. Journal of Sport Tourism, 11 (1). pp. 77-100. ISSN 1477-5085


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In an era when popular and mass cultures are positioned further up the symbolic hierarchy, sport events are deemed by cities to be a valuable image or branding tools. Event strategies are often justified by their envisaged image effects and the celebrities, iconic structures and media exposure associated with sport events means that they are viewed as being particularly effective for this purpose. This paper evaluates the image effects of strategies deployed by three English cities; Birmingham, Manchester and Sheffield. Each of these cities has used a combination of regular sport fixtures, ‘mega’ sport events and event bids to further their reputations as tourist destinations. Semi-structured interviews with a representative sample of potential tourists were used to provide evidence of the impacts of these initiatives. Despite some participants making connections with traffic chaos and violence, in general sport events appear to have encouraged positive connotations amongst potential tourists, including modernity, progress and vitality. Events seem to be regarded favourably at a cultural level, generating widespread positive meanings even when individual preferences vary. This has positive implications for cities deploying sport events as re-imaging or branding tools.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Online ISSN 1029-5399
Subjects: University of Westminster > Architecture and the Built Environment > Architecture and the Built Environment, School of (No longer in use)
Depositing User: Miss Nina Watts
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2007
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2010 14:31

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