Sportainment. Facing a new dimension of sports

Seminar Paper, 2012

33 Pages, Grade: 1,0


Table of contents

1. Introduction

2. Defining sports and important sports­related aspects
2.1. The importance of sports
2.2. Sport tourism

3. Sportainment - Facing a new dimension of sports
3.1. Explanation of sportainment
3.2. Sportainment and its relation to tourism
3.2.1. Sports-Cities and their impacts on tourism
3.2.2. Creating global destination image for a sport destination

4. Vancouver 2010 - An introduction
4.1. Vancouver 2010 - XXI Olympic Winter Games
4.2. Financing the Olympic Winter Games
4.2.1. Financial resources of the City of Vancouver for the Winter Games
4.2.2. Funding of the Venue Construction by the Vancouver Organizing Committee
4.2.3. Operational Expenditures by VANOC
4.3. Tourism impacts of the Winter Games
4.4. The Winter Games and their relation sportainment
4.4.1. The Winter Games in the media
4.4.2. Media programs of the Winter Olympic and Paralympics
4.5. The Winter Games as a global project

5. Summary and future prospects



1. Introduction

It doesn’t matter if your are an enthusiastic fan of a soccer club, a professional worldclass athletes, the owner of a sports association or even “just” a person that follows the daily news about sport affaires: Sport has become one of the major topics of (almost) everybody’s life in the twenty-first century.

Besides, sport can be related to as many aspects of life as possible. Nowadays, sportive activities or even sport events are significant motivations for planning your holidays and that is why sport and tourism achieve high synergies together.

Sport has also emerged as global mass entertainment, and is now one of the most powerful and far-reaching communications platforms in the world. Global sport events offer the capacity and possibility to reach vast numbers of people worldwide. By extension, high-performance athletes have become global as they sell themselves to the bright public. And as a result, they become powerful ambassadors, spokespeople and role-models. The creation of the term “sportainment” reflects the increasing importance of the entertaining sports industry.

Therefore, the aim of this paper is to examine the relation between sports and entertainment, sports and tourism as well as entertaining sports and tourism. I am going to concentrate my focus on the following questions:

- What is the importance of sports and how can it be related to tourism?
- What is “sportainment” and how can its relevance be described in the twenty-first century?
- How does “sportainment” influence tourism?
- How does “sportainment” influence international sport events?

Hence, the first two chapters build the theoretical framework of this paper. Chapter two examines the importance of sports and the rising appearance of sports as tourism. Chapter three explains the term “sportainment”, gives examples and finally relates it to international tourism. Chapter four analyses the Olympic Winter Games of Vancouver 2010 as a global project towards an entertaining sport event and examines its tourism impacts.

2. Defining sports and important sports-related aspects

"Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to unite in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination." 1

2.1. The importance of sports

Participants, spectators, volunteers, hundreds and thousands of people are attracted to sport. This popularity overcomes national, cultural, economic and political boundaries. Sport’s popularity derives in large part from the fact that it is fun and enjoyable for everyone — participants and spectators alike.

In order to find an explanation for this great popularity, there should be an attempt to describe ‘sports’ and its behaviour.

For many years, scientists tried to develop or find an adequate definition of sports, its character and its motivation. But in fact, scientific research still lacks a universally and globally accepted term that specifies the nature of sports. Nevertheless, authors, institutions and experts tempt characterising the meaning of sports as follows:

“{...) sport in its widest possible sense (...) the whole range of competitive and noncompetitive pursuits that involve skill, strategy, and/or chance in which human beings engage, at their own level, simply for enjoyment and training or to raise their performance to levels of publicly acclaimed excellence.”2

“Sport takes many forms. It may include many participants, as in team sports such as soccer and volleyball; two participants, as in dual sports such as tennis and badminton; or one person as individual sports such as golf and surfing. Sports includes a combinations of theses configurations when it involves team competitions, tournaments, or matches in dual sports (wrestling) or individual sports (in-line skating).”3

According to these definitions, sports can be seen, on the one hand, as a leisure activity involving fun and enjoyment in order to get trained. On the other hand, it may be seen as a profession, when performing on a high level and in order to earn money. While in the last case sport includes the need to be competitive, sport as leisure activity can involve both competitive and non-competitive motivations.

Equally, it can be practised as team sport, dual sport and even individual sport, depending on the number of involved athletes.

In deed, sport is definitively more than just a couple of words or phrases. The following facts and figures emphasise the importance of sports in the twenty-first century:

- The sports sector accounts almost 1,000,000 jobs in the European Union.
- Since 1980, the total number of jobs related to sporting activities has tripled.
- Accronding to the European Union, sport compromises between 3% to 3.7% of consumer expenditure in the E.U.
- Today, sport organisations have many possibilities to increase their income, including club fees and ticket sales, advertising and sponsorship, TV and media rights4.
- The big four sport leagues in the United States are basketball, football, baseball, and hockey, and together they generate $10 -15 billion, annually.
- The FIFA World Cup in Germany generates more than $1billion in advertising revenue5.
- In hosting the 2012 Olympic Games, London will gain an estimated increase in construction workers of 8.4% in Greater London and a budget of £9.3million will be spent on construction, transport and regeneration.
- Many destinations became aware of offering packages to fit a variety of sporting options, like the golf championships in Dubai or the Tour de France6.

2.2. Sport tourism

When talking about the importance of sport in the twenty-first century, one may not only consider the moneymaking business. By now, sport is influencing various aspects of human leisure time. Like no other motivation for undertaking a holiday, sport makes tourists to push their own limits by combining both experiencing the “unknown” and enjoying some time away from home. The desire of people to travel to participate actively or passively in sports is growing.

Scientists and leading international organisations have recognised the demand of tourists for sport experiences and developed several definitions of sport tourism:

“ {...,} sport tourism is defined as sport ­ based travel away from the home environment for a limited time, where sport is characterised by unique rule sets, competition related to physical prowess and play. ” 7

“ All forms of active and passive involvement in sporting activity, participated in casually or in an organized way for noncommercial or business/commercial reasons, that necessitate travel away from home and work locality. ” 8

“ Broadly, sports tourism is a dynamic and expanding sector f the tourism economy {...}.

Sports ­ related facilities and events are clearly capable of generating visitors from outside the local area, and of attracting more and/or higher spending visitors to existing tourist locations. ” 9

All these definitions examine sport tourism as holiday-based activities, with active or passive (or even both) sport experiences.

Indeed, tourism is the fastest growing industry in the world, while sports can be seen as the most important industry in the leisure sector. As a significant part of all parts of culture, sport needs to be measured as an integral part of tourism. Sports can definitively be viewed as a tourist attraction.

Many tourism destinations are developing sport tourism products in order to build up a competitive advantage, strength their position in the international tourism market, amuse and attract (new) consumers or to interact with tourists that are keen on having a sportive, healthy and interactive holiday.

With this striking growth, sports tourism involves monetary aspects, too. According to Homafar, sport and tourism are import economic activities in developed and developing countries. From 1997 to 2005, sport tourism increased the international gross domestic growth 1.3%, annually. Economic activities, which were related to big sporting events, decreased unemployment by 1.9% on an annual basis. More importantly, sport tourism is one of the big drivers influencing national growth and revenue in the twenty-first century. In fact, sport tourism has been developed as a multi-billion dollar market. Nowadays, it is the most developed sector in tourism business, producing 45 billion $ for the global travel and tourism industry.10 Some facts and figures strength the economic significance of sport tourism:

- In 1998, 37% of all Canada’s 73.7 million domestic trips were related to sports tourism. Sport tourists take a number between 2.5 and 5 million individuals from June to September each year.11

- In 1998, the FIFA World Cup in France reached more than 900,000 fans worldwide and brought a return of $ 12.3 billion.12

- In 2000, Australia generated 110,000 additional arrivals for the Olympic summer games. Furthermore, from 1st September to 1st November 2000, 4.3 million international and domestic passengers passed Sydney Airport, which implies an average of 30,000 passengers per day.13

- In 2004, the European Football Championship fascinated 500,000 international fans coming to Portugal and brought a return of $320 million.14

- In June 2006, the FIFA World Cup in Germany reached 1.1 million additional overnight stays in comparison to overnight stays in June 2005.15

- Cycle tourism is getting more attractive: 2% of all leisure/day trips to the United Kingdom are generated by cycling, and even 9% of all overseas visitors in Ireland are considered as cycle tourists, spending on average £538 each.16

These phrases demonstrate the growing importance of international sport tourism events as well as the importance of sport for tourist destination. It is estimated that future sport events will reach almost every part of everyday life.

In order to make customers and professionals aware of the increasing importance of sport tourism and to strength this kind of niche product for a long time, the World Tourism Organization and the International Olympic Committee organised the first World Conference on Sport and Tourism. The conference took place in Barcelona, Spain, in February 2001. The concluded points can be summarised by this:

- International collaboration between sport and tourism organisations should be developed on regional, national and international levels.
- In depth examination, a higher number of publications as well as improved communication about sport tourism were required.
- New media and information technology are key drivers in the promotion of sport and tourism and should strength the future collaboration.
- Governments are needed for an essential development of sport tourism and therefore should take into account the results of the conference.
- To ensure a long-lasting development of sport tourism, education should play an important role.
- Sport events should be planned in relation to the needs of both local communities and visitor in order to ensure a sustainable development. High-level sport and sport for everybody should be included in this idea.17

3. Sportainment - Facing a new dimension of sports

Sport as entertainment, or entertaining sports - are these new dimensions of sport culture in the twenty-first century?

Even for a sport-uninterested person it is undeniable that sports savour increasingly high attention for several years. And, as another ostensible fact, not all coverage of sports can be seen sport-related or trustworthy.

In the following, the term “sportainment”, its characteristics and its relation to tourism are both examined and explained in detail.

3.1. Explanation of sportainment

It is not a secret that the term “sportainment” does not exist in relation to science or official language use. When looking for explanations, examples or definitions on Google, the only results you may receive are web pages of media companies or sport consultancies. Additionally, books, articles, news, blogs or statistics are (almost) not available for the word sportainment. The only book that has been published concentrates on the synergies between sport and communication, with special regard to the German market. In the following, this book will be included and the author will be quoted. So, science as well as daily-news coverage lack reliable and scientific information Nevertheless, the meaning of the term seems to be more than ostensible: sportainment - an integration of sports and entertainment.

From the author’s point of view, there are two different styles, which represent the current dimension of sport behaviour:

(1) Sports and athletes as modern benefits of the entertainment industry

(2) Intensive media coverage of sport events

Following the international sport news and media reporting, it seems as if sport organisations, sport clubs or even athletes themselves sell their talent as well as their personal life to the international stage of spectatorship.

On the one hand, sport as part of modern life increasingly focuses on being part of the entertainment industry. On the other hand, mass media concentrate more and more on occurrences, persons and topics related to sport, as these possess entertaining potential. Thus, as a result, demand and supply for sport and entertainment increased during the past years.

Athletes are now trying to create a strong position beyond the sport section and more ostensibly in the section of entertainment. Through co-operations with entertainment journalism, athletes gain the possibility of a second source of income and success. Therefore, less focus is paid to the performance of an athlete, but lifestyle, fates, personal affaires are documented. A positive consequence for the athlete may be a high presence of media, which hides an interim drop in performance. Athletes may experience some kind of exoneration of their daily pressure by strengthen their position in the entertainment section of media.

Besides, many athletes benefit from high, entertaining media coverage as they can play to the global gallery. Especially yellow-press magazines do not focus on current news reporting, and as consequence, photo shoots or home stories can be coordinated and staged.

Media coverage in the section of entertainment differs from general sport reporting as negative occurrences are less highlighted. Instead, an idyllic world is staged. Negative headlines, like these in the sporting reporting, are less likely in entertainment magazines. On the contrary, a strong thematization of the person itself can be much more controlled and staged in the area of entertainment. Balancing negative (sportive) reporting with idyllic (lifestyle) news is therefore one common aspect of athlete behaviour. Another ostensible characteristic of entertaining sports persons may be the fact that new audiences and/or readers obtained. It is undeniable that men are more fascinated by sport than women, but, on the hand, more women are interested in entertainment publicity. By highlighting an athlete in the section of entertainment, new audiences can be obtained, both in the field of sports and in the field of entertainment magazines. Rising popularity and attractiveness also conclude because of strong entertainment media coverage.

On the contrary, medium of authenticity or rather authentic behaviour in the tabloid press is less distinctive than in sport reporting. Reader or spectator receive staged and idyllic pattern that do not fit to the professional exercise of sports, but that presents the athletes during their private environment or during performances that are not sports- related.


1 Nelson Mandela, Cf.

2 Cf. Standeven (1999): 8

3 Cf. Pedersen (2011): 6

4 Cf, sport_en.htm

5 Cf.

6 Cf.

7 Cf. Hinch (2011): 20

8 Cf. Standeven (1999): 12

9 Cf. Houlihan (2008): 403

10 Cf. Homafar (2011): 34

11 Cf. f%20jan%2026.pdf

12 Cf.

13 Cf.

14 Cf.

15 Cf. Allmers (2009): 3

16 Cf. Faulks (2007): v

17 Cf. World Tourism Organization and International Olympic Committee (2001)

Excerpt out of 33 pages


Sportainment. Facing a new dimension of sports
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ISBN (Book)
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Sportainment, Sport, Sports, Entertainment, Sports Tourism, David Beckham, Tourismus, Tourism
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Undine Handorf (Author), 2012, Sportainment. Facing a new dimension of sports, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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