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Sports Events Impact On Manchester City Tourism Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Tourism
Wordcount: 5011 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Under the fast development of the events industry, holding sports events is growing continuously. More and more cities hold sports event to attract tourists or business investments, and then to become a sports destination. One of the biggest impacts of holding a sports event is to increase the image of a city. Also, it could improve facilities (Marketing Manchester, 2003). Amount of researches have suggested that sports events have developed continuously and have become powerful catalysts of the economy of a city over the years.

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Sports events are one of the oldest kinds of events dating back to ancient Greek Olympics. Sports events are becoming part of a strategy that is more and more being used by governments in their destination marketing programmes (Law, 1995). Very often the destination of events is linked to strategies of urban regeneration and tourism development. This is why cities staging major events have a unique opportunity to market themselves to the world. One of the characteristics of sports events is the media coverage or the ability to change the image of a city (Gratton et al, 2005). The fact is, to hold a sports event, a city must have facilities, the environment, the economic supports and the staff required. Getz (1997) declares that sporting events are rapidly increasing in popularity as a means of attracting attention to particular geographic locations. As sports events are becoming so important, organizations have been created to support sports all around a country. For instance, in England, the association UK Sports has been developed “to lead sport in the UK to worldwide class”, and it has adopted the term major sports events (UK Sports, 2009).

The use of sport events as a reimaging tool is an established tradition with precedents dating back to classical civilizations (Favro 1998). With the impactive example, which is the 2002 Commonwealth Games, Manchester had made an indelible contribution on the positive image of the Manchester city. During the years, the city also tried to bid for the Olympics Games by building new venues and developing new facilities. Till now, Manchester is proud to have been voted the world’s leading Sport City in 2008, a recognition for the city’s commitment to delivering a comprehensive sporting programme that connects major events to community sport, elite performance, facility development, volunteering, training and education (Northwest, 2009).

The study focuses on the city of Manchester, in which one of the most famous sports event held was the 2002 Commonwealth Games. The game was held in Manchester from July 25 to August 4, 2002. It ranks as the third largest sports event in the world after the Olympic Games and the Word Cup. In UK, it was the largest sports event to be held after the Olympic Games in1948. 72 nations involved in 14 individual sports and 3 team sports events (The Commonwealth, 2009). Seven years later, the impacts and legacies of this grand sports game still exist. Marketing Manchester (2003) issued that it created more than 300,000 additional visitors per year as a direct result of the games. The positive image of Manchester continues to grow. This is then reflected in real economic benefits for the city-region. The government became an active partner at all stages of the Games in 1999 as Sport England is providing capital funding (Games Legacy, 2003). Dating back from 1996 to 2000, the bidding for Olympic Games resulted in a series of new facilities, including the National Cycling Centre (NCC) and the Manchester Evening News (MEN) Arena (Smith, n.d.). When organizing the Commonwealth Games, Manchester wanted to leave a sport legacy in the city, not only for its citizens to have access to sports facilities but also from an economic point of view. It did not take into account that the Games influence themselves but also the impacts after the Games. This event promoted the city with developing a new economy and offering new social aspects for Manchester City (Games Legacy, 2003).

Therefore, based on the existing researches and the opinions of sports associations and events organisations, this study will focus on the capacities of a city to become a sports event destination and its impact on Manchester city. Meanwhile, the importance of the destination management and the key principles of being a sports events destination will be discussed.

On the other hand, different researches undertaken on the reimaging of a city lead to a common agreement that it is not clearly identifiable, and can even be negative. Queuing, ways to enter the town, the site, toilets or seats, can generate negative responses from the audience (Derret, 2004). It may generate bad behavior, loss of amenity, environment damage, or even direct financial loss. Therefore, in this study, both positive and negative impacts will be analysed concerning the sports events in Manchester.

1.2 Aim

The aim of this study is to evaluate the capacities of Manchester to become a sports events destination and its impact on Manchester city.

1.3 Objectives

1. To seek the critical reasons of the importance of the destination management.

2. To critically evaluate the key principles of being a sports events destination.

3. To analyse the capacity of Manchester as a sports event destination, and to assess the impacts and legacies of the sports events in Manchester.

4. To conclude and recommend from the findings of the dissertation.

1.4 Structure of the dissertation

In order to establish a clear background of this research, a literature review will explained more precisely and more detailed with key numbers of related conceptions and notions of sports event destination. The methodology part will then explain the research methods, which were used and how they react on the whole studies. Furthermore, the study will analyse and then present the results and data that have been found all over the research. Finally, it will draw a conclusion, and further recommendations will be suggested.


This chapter will explain more precisely and detailed conceptions and notions that used in the study. It develops the topic through a number of different ranges of resources about the destination management, sports event destinations and its impacts and legacies in Manchester city.

The importance of the destination management

Destinations are places that attract visitors for a temporary stay, and range from continents to countries to states and provinces to cities to villages to purpose built areas (Pike, 2004). Manager a destination could generate millions of profits and thousands of employment. (Parry and Shone, 2004).In order to know the importance of managing a destination, several concepts and notions will introduced to support it.

The destination management was initially defined by Janecková and VaÅ¡tíková (1999) as “a system of managerial skills and activities used for coordinated planning and organizing of tourism for a particular destination”. Several years later, Parry and Shone (2004) added that the destination management was not just a case of managing the physical products such as the venues, hotels or transports systems, but was also very much to do with building partnerships and collaboration across destinations. The destination management plays an important role in the venue sector such as ensuring facilities, approaching potential investors, protecting products and balancing visitor experiences.

Smith (2008) illustrated that destination management is about coordinating all the activities and services, which impact on the visitor and their enjoyment of the destination. This covers a very wide range of things including marketing and information provision, traffic circulation, the warmth of the welcome, signage, accommodation and attractions, local distinctiveness, transport, environmental quality and cleanliness etc. Moreover, destination management can include land use planning, zoning controls, environmental issues, regulations, business association initiatives, and a host of other techniques to shape the development and daily operation of event-related or tourism-related activities (Srinivas, n.d.). Manente (2008) highlighted that the role of destination management is to manage and support the integration of different resources, activities and stakeholders through suitable policies and actions. It implies both governmental and functional competences, which should be generally performed by the public sector.

In addition, DMOs (Destination Marketing Organisations) should take responsibilities for all aspects of destination management in their areas, including tasks currently performed by local tourism partnerships, local authorities and others. In simple terms, DMOs will take the lead on the development of the destination, providing a membership offer, communicating with industry, providing ICT services, running tourist information centres, marketing the destination, providing information to visitors, businesses and others, foster excellence, carrying out research and providing support (Marketing Manchester, 2003). Key DMO goals can be summarized as relating to the following four themes, which are enhancing destination image, increasing industry profitability, reducing seasonality and ensuring long term funding (Pike, 2004). Furthermore, the role of DMO is to sell the destination and highlight all strengths and facilities, generate and convert enquires into confirmed business. They act as intermediaries, serving as a custodian of the destination information, to be the official voice of the destination and the facilities, services and overall ‘product’ (Davidson and Roger 2006). The British Tourist Organisation, is an example of DMO. Lohela (2008) pointed out that DMOs negotiates with several authorities such as the country administration boards and government, in order to improve, for example, infrastructure to and within the destination. DMOs work towards development of larger and better quality accommodations. Target market definition is an important factor for DMOs to determine as well as to consider the impacts and effects of destination development.

However, the needs, expectations and anticipated benefits of tourism or events industry vary greatly from one destination to the other, and there is certainly no “one size fits all” approach to destination management. (Srinivas, n.d.)

Principles of sports event destination

Every destination has a unique mix of characteristics, which are determined by its geographical location, culture and history (Getz, 1997). According to Highman (2005), a general lack of knowledge is associated with the definition of sports event destination. However, he explained that the particularly dynamic and powerful domain of tourism, which offers tourist destinations of scope, scale and diversity, is related to sport.

The strong growth of the sports event industry is part of a general economic change. Whereas the economy tends to be more product base, it is increasingly becoming service based. This is the reason why governments increasingly use events as economic development strategies. The government plays a key and leading role in events. Increasingly, governments use events strategy to plan the use of resources and to improve and measure the outcomes of programmes and service (Bowdin, McDonnell and O’Toole, 2002).

Sports destinations range from sports purpose-built resorts, where all the functions are focused on the dominant activity, to capital cities and entire country (Law, 1995). Derret (2004) stated that a sports events destination can be defined as a city or a country having the facilities and staff required as well as the government’s support to hold a major sports event. As a successful sports event destination should comprise, efficient transport, well-signed directions and cost-friendly events are undoubtedly essential for a great attraction to audience. Meanwhile, the appropriate accommodation, transport infrastructure, tourist activities, secure parking, pathways, access to amenities like automatic teller machines, phones, first-aid and emergency service are all related to a successful event (Parry and Shone, 2004).

The main ability of sports event or sporting event is to attract tourist visitors, media coverage and economic impact (Highman, 2005). Moreover, the holding sports event goals for a destination should address following issues (Parry, and Shone, 2004):

The extent to which existing events are to be developed and promoted as sports attractions.

The extent to which support will be given to develop or assist the creation of new sports events and bidding for sports events.

The role events are to play in creating and enhancing images, particularly a destination area or attraction theme, and in correcting negative imagery.

The acceptable costs associated with development, and who is to pay for them.

The means to identify, prevent, ameliorate, or remove negative impacts.

The need for organizational development at the level of interest groups, communities, destination areas and government agencies/departments to support event tourism.

A key element directly link to sports events is the image of the city and how this kind of event can influence it. Indeed, sports events can help a city or a country to promote a specific image and thus to attract tourist (Westerbeek et al, 2002). Jennings (1996) early explained that the staging of sports events does not only attract tourist but also political and commercial business interests, which also help to change the image of the city. Furthermore, according to Smith (2005), more and more cities use sports events to present an attractive image to potential tourists. Sports events are able to influence the reputation and change the image of a city.

In addition, Kasimati (2003) explained that the long-term benefits of major sports event lead to re-build the event facilities and the infrastructure, enhance the international reputation, increase tourism, improve the public welfare and add employment. Long-term impacts are the longest ones to evaluate. This is the reason why there is very often a lack of information about them. Moreover, Ritchie and Adair (2005) declared that even if a city experiences image advancement, it does not mean that this will directly lead to the increase of tourism or to the economic development. The change of the image of a city cannot be a direct impact after the event. This is the long-term legacy that a major sports event can leave. Also, Sport’s mega events are both too powerful and too costly to justify staging for reasons of generating sports tourism alone (Sports Business 2009). Therefore, sports events generally have both positive and negative impacts as there will always be uncontrollable elements. However, negative impacts can be managed if the event could be carefully planned with a complete strategy.

Capacities of Manchester

Manchester identified the sports development and major events as good postindustrial prospects in the early 1990s (Jones, 2001). Braham (1999) had already regarded the success of Manchester United football club and the regular hosting of international sports events as major factors in the enhancement of Manchester’s image for a visitor destination.

Manchester City has a wide range of sporting facilities that are equally capable of catering to World Class competitions as well as serving the casual needs. It is the home for two top class football clubs, Manchester United Football Club and Manchester City Football Club. These two clubs each has its own museum that provides guests with opportunities to relive past glories and trophies. Manchester also features Britain’s National Cycling Centre and the primary indoor Olympic cycle track that is known as the Manchester Velodrome. It also offers other sporting facilities that include courts for basketball, netball and badminton. The Aquatics Centre was constructed so that the city of Manchester could host the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Today the centre is also the home of the City of Manchester Olympics Team. Golfing enthusiasts can visit Heaton Park Golf Centre that offers visitors to the city of Manchester the opportunity to golf on any day of the week (Millennium, 2009).

The success of Manchester airports as an international hub makes Manchester uniquely placed to act as an international gateway to Britain. The city-region’s comprehensive regeneration, combined with the success of the 2002 Commonwealth Games and the rise in urban tourism, means Manchester now has the capacity to truly compete as a destination on a national or international stage (Marketing Manchester, 2003).

Adaptable Travel (2009) stated that recent years Manchester has become a world player in hosting large scale sporting events. From the 2002 Commonwealth Games to the 2008 World Track Cycling Championships, Manchester has become a world-class sporting host. With a range of sporting venues, Manchester demands audiences’ attention with a warm, no-nonsense welcome and a liberating open-mindedness place.

Manchester has been crowned the best ‘Sports City’ in the world for its successful hosting of six international sports events in 2008, including three world championships. A group of industry experts including representatives from FIFA, the International Olympic Committee, the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club and the International Cricket Council selected Manchester the winner ahead of other leading world sport destinations. Throughout the year, Manchester World Sport 08 has hosted the UCI Track Cycling World Championships, the 9th FINA World Swimming Championships 2008, the BUPA Great Manchester Run, the UEFA Cup Final 2008, the Hi-Tec World Squash Championships 2008 and the Paralympics World Cup. One of the key campaign objectives for Manchester World Sports 08, which was coordinated by Manchester City Council in partnership with Marketing Manchester, the Northwest Regional Development Agency, UK Sport and M.E.N. Media, was to raise Manchester’s position in the global hierarchy of ‘top world cities’ (Manchester City Council, 2008).

Manchester is now continuing to present international sport in 2009 with major events, including (Sports Business, 2009):

– BUPA Great Manchester Run;

– BT Paralympics World Cup;

– Standard Bank Cup Argentina vs. England Rugby Union International;

– LEN European Women’s Water Polo Trophy;

– BTCB British International Taekwondo Open Championship;

– Co-operative World Netball Series;

– UCI Track Cycling World Cup Classic

– UCI Paracycling World Championships.

Simon Morton, Senior Events Consultant at UK Sport, said: “The city of Manchester will continue to play a key role in our World Class Events Programme throughout the coming years, as we prepare British athletes, volunteers, and officials for our home Games in London in 2012” (Sports Business, 2009). Besides, Paul Simpson, managing director of Visit Manchester, the tourist board for Greater Manchester said: “Sport is one facet of what makes Manchester and being able to show the world we stage events enhances the appeal of Manchester, particularly from the international visitor perspective. The year 2008 has seen Manchester’s credentials as a sports destination reach even new heights.” (Sports Business, 2009)

The following lists are the venues for the 17 sports events (Marketing Manchester, 2003):

Manchester Aquatics Centre- Diving, Swimming,

City of Manchester Stadium- Athletics, Rugby 7s.

National Squash Centre, Sportcity- Squash.

Table Tennis Centre, Sportcity- Table Tennis.

International Convention Centre- Weightlifting.

Bolton Arena- Badminton.

Wythenshawe Forum Centre- Boxing.

Manchester Evening News Arena- Boxing, Netball.

National Cycling Centre- Cycling.

G-MEX- Gymnastics, Judo.

Belle Vue Hockey centre- Hockey.

Heaton Park- Lawn Bowls.

Even though Manchester ranks third only behind London and Edinburgh in terms of overseas British visitors, there is a considerable gap behind the leader. There is still a real potential for growth. In order to more clearly understand the present position Manchester is currently in, along with the future of direction it should pursue in its tourism policy, two SWOT analyses were undertaken by Marketing Manchester. The first analysis examined the physical tourism product and the conurbation’s tourism infrastructure. The second one looked at public perception and the brand identity of the city region. Not all conclusions reflect the position across the Great Manchester conurbation. There are wide ranges of differences within these districts. But they are issues that emerged as of significant relevance Source (Marketing Manchester, 2003):




Manchester Airport Plc;

Metro link tram service;

New attractions;

High number of budget hotels, nightlife; Shopping;


Rebuilding of the city centre;

Large pool of skilled graduates.

Lack of budget airline service to Manchester; Lack of high capacity conference facility; Coach parking facilities; Visitor service infrastructure; Poor taxi service; Lack of iconic attractions; Signage in city centre; lack of disabled access facilities.



Proximity of Liverpool Airport; Opportunity to expand and grow the convention market; Enhancement of visitor areas; Improvement of public transport network; Development of waterway network.

Continued failure if rail service; Fragmented political structure; Oversupply of hotel accommodation




Leading UK city; Sport (particular Manchester United and the 2002 Commonwealth Games Legacy); Self-confidence;


Value for money in the view of domestic tourist.

Negative perceptions of the city; Lack of unique reasons to visit; Perception by overseas visitors that the city is expensive; Perception that the city is unsophisticated



Opportunity to change the negative Perceptions (e.g. via achievement of World Heritage Site status); Development of brand identity in terms of culture; Activity promote Manchester as an international conference and convention destination; Promote city events programme

Other UK regional cities; Fear of crime

Source: Marketing Manchester, 2003

Impacts and legacies of sports events

It is important for a city organizing a major sports event to get as much feed back as possible to find out what this event can bring to a city. The hosting of sports events provides a short period of excitement for resident and causes the long-term awareness of the host destination, which is about creating a long lasting legacy or impact Kasimati (2003).

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According to Cashman (2005), there is no clear and evident definition of this notion, because legacy is often assumed to be self-evidence so there is no need to define. However, Ritchie and Adair (2005), a legacy planning can help to ensure the hosing of a major event and can contribute to the development of facilities and programmes that will give profit to the residents for many years. If considering about the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games, when being organised, it had been planned for a leaving legacy. The legacy activities were funded under the 2002 North West Economic and Social Regeneration Board Programme, operating from 1999 to 2004. The objective was to attract more business like national and international sports events. Concerning the sporting legacy, the new investment created by the games aimed to give Manchester a unique opportunity to redevelop its existing sporting venues and also to fund the construction of new ones (Games Legacy, 2002).

Moreover, Manchester Event Volunteers was designed to build upon the success of the XVII Commonwealth Games Volunteer Programme. Manchester Event Volunteer service has proved successful in developing and maintaining a volunteer database of over 3000 enthusiastic individuals who have supported more than 400 communities, regional and national events during the providing thousands of volunteering opportunities. Also, strong links with event organisers have been developed and the excellent reputation of the service can be evidenced by the fact that organisers now approach the service directly (MEV, 2006). This could be seen as one of the biggest legacies that the sports events left in the city of Manchester.

Sports events are short-term events with long-term consequences for the cities that stage them. So they will have impacts either positive or negative on the holding destination. The benefit of holding sports events includes sharing opportunities in access to new funding, as well as the development of new sporting infrastructure. Moreover, the economic activities associated with the staging of major sports event can give significant economic benefits for the host destination (Westerbeek, Turner and Ingerson, 2002). The constructions of new sport buildings represent a net addition to the local economy. The remaining facilities after events that can lead to future activities can generate additional tourist expenditure. Furthermore, major sports events can create a network between the event organization and other managers working on the event (Chalip and McGuirty, 2004). When the authors list the positives impacts of a major sports event, very often they also list and explain the negative ones. The majority of them are linked to the finance loss. Westerbeek et al (2002) explained that it is a significant financial burden on the host communities. It needs to require assistance from the community such as public funding. Ritchie and Adair (2005) stated that sport tourism bring modification to cultural experiences and lead to crowd disorder. However, in the case of the 2002 Commonwealth Games, Manchester did not invest a lot of money in the development of capital projects. The funding came from both UK Government and private sponsorship. Also, most people in Manchester are encouraged by this grand sports festival. In this case, Manchester managed to produce many important benefits from the event (Carlsen and Taylor, 2003).

Recently, the completed research has confirmed that the biggest year of international sport in Manchester in 2008 attracted over 317,000 visitors to the City and generated £23 million of net economic impact to the Manchester area, along with providing social and participatory benefits for community and youth groups across the city and the Northwest. Peter Mearns, Executive Director for Marketing and Communications at the NWDA said: “This level of economic impact shows just how important major sporting events are to the regional economy.  It is a fantastic figure obtained from Manchester hosting a unique number of high-quality international sporting events and world championships” (Manchester City Council, 2009). Moreover, Viamanchester (2009) described that the year 2008 was the single biggest year of world sports in Manchester since the Commonwealth Games in 2002. With holding 6 international sports events, it is no wonder the city has just been crowned ‘Sports City of the Year’. Therefore, the hugely positive impacts of Manchester World Sport 08 demonstrated the government objectives to deliver benefits to residents by maximising opportunities for inclusion and participation, while improving the considerable contribution that major sports events can make to the local economy.

Councilor Mike Amesbury, Executive Member for Culture and Leisure at Manchester City Council said: “Manchester is renowned for its incredible sporting legacy and to be recognised internationally for our achievements are a great honour” (Manchester City Council, 2009).

According to Brown and Massey (2001), if Manchester is seen as a sports destination, balancing the need to attract tourists and the need to provide community use will be important as to the impact of the facilities in sports development in the region. Likewise, if the 2002 Commonwealth Games is successful in re-imaging Manchester, and if the benefit from the increased visitors is distributed, the event perceptions that discussed above in terms of legacy will be draw.

In conclusion, this chapter has set the background of the research and explained the different concepts and notions linked to sports events. To completely understand how it is possible to evaluate the capacities of Manchester to become a sports event destination, it was necessary to seek the critical reasons of the importance of the destination management first, then to evaluate the key principles and influences of being a sports event destination including the impacts and legacies of the hosing city. As the 2002 Commonwealth Games played an important role, which links to the study. It was analysed by different aspects to support this chapter. Also, the year 2008 was described as the best sports year, and generated millions of pounds for the regional economy. Besides the literature, the primary research will be conducted based on the key notions and conceptions reviewed here to make a further proof of the whole study.


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