Analysing the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of the Hamburg Bid for the 2024 Olympic Games

Bachelor Thesis, 2016

53 Pages, Grade: 1,3


Table of Contents


Table of Contents

1. Introduction
The Hamburg bid for the Olympic Games
Problem Statement
Research Questions

2. Literature review
The economics of staging Olympic Games
The impact of Olympic Games on host cities
The risks of staging Olympic Games
Evidence from the London 2012 Olympic Games

3. Methodology
Epistemology and Ontology
Data collection
Data analysis
Research quality
Ethical considerations

4. Findings
Why did Hamburg and the DOSB want to apply for the summer Olympic Games 2024?
How have previous applications for Olympic events influenced the DOSB’s selection factors?
Why did the DOSB choose Hamburg over Berlin and which risks did they take in doing so?
What were the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the Hamburg bid?

5. Conclusion

Reference list

Research Progress Report


This research examines the failed Hamburg bid for the 2024 summer Olympic Games. Specifically, this research seeks to evaluate the rationales of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) and Hamburg for bidding for Olympic Games, of DOSB delegates for selecting Hamburg as a candidate city, to determine the influence of previous failed bids on the bidding process, and to analyse the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the Hamburg bid.

In doing so, this research, which is underpinned by a social constructionist paradigm, uses a qualitative thematic content analysis to evaluate data from a range of sources, including media reports, bid documents, external reports and notes taken by the researcher at presentations about the bid by city officials in Hamburg.

The findings of the research show that the bid represented a significant opportunity for urban development in Hamburg and a means to boost German sport for the DOSB. Furthermore, the influences of previous failed bids on the bidding process and the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the bid are identified along with the risk of selecting Hamburg as a candidate city over Berlin.

The research allows a unique insight into the bid and the German Olympic movement and signposts numerous opportunities for future research on Olympic bids, the motivations that lead to bidding and the means through which different stakeholders construct perceptions of Olympic Games.

List of Figures and Tables

Figure 1: Legacies matrix for mega sporting events

Figure 2: Phases of economic impacts of Olympic Games

Figure 3: Rationales of Hamburg and the DOSB in bidding for Olympic Games

Figure 4: Reasons for and against the selection of Hamburg and Berlin from the perspective of the DOSB

Table 1: London 2012 Olympic legacy evaluation results

Table 2: Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the Hamburg bid

1. Introduction

The Hamburg bid for the Olympic Games

In 2015, the City of Hamburg attempted to bid to host the Olympic Games in 2024. Following an inner-German bidding process, in which Hamburg and Berlin each submitted proposals to the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), Hamburg was selected as the candidate city by the DOSB delegates (Straub et al., 2015).

However, the bid was eventually rejected by voters in a referendum in Hamburg with a 51.6% majority against (Krämer, 2015). The bid would have been the first German bid for an Olympic event since the one for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, in which Munich lost to Pyeongchang. A planned second bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games was never submitted, after the local populations in the host boroughs rejected the bid in a referendum in November 2013. The then-mayor of Munich, Christian Ude, and the director general of the DOSB, Alfons Hörmann, both contended that there was an increasingly critical mentality amongst parts of the population towards mega sports-events and that there was a tendency towards such events being met with scepticism and prejudice (Eichler, 2013; Grohmann, 2013). In light of these acknowledgements it might seem surprising that the executive board of the DOSB decided to launch a bid for the summer 2024 Olympic Games in October 2014, less than a year after the lost referendum. However, the DOSB stated in the press release announcing the bid decision that it had learnt from its defeat in Munich and that it aimed to make the bidding process transparent and participative, whilst maintaining that there was popular support for a summer Olympic Games in Germany, based on polls which it had conducted (DOSB, 2014). Previously, in September 2014, both Hamburg and Berlin had presented concepts for Olympic Games in their respective cities. On the 21st March 2015, an extraordinary general member assembly voted in favour of Hamburg (Gödecke, 2015), following a recommendation issued by the executive board of the DOSB five days earlier (Ahrens, 2015). The final decision over which city will host the 2024 Olympic Games will be made in Lima (Peru) in summer 2017.

Germany has hosted Olympic Games before: the infamous 1936 summer Olympic Games in Berlin, the winter Olympic Games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the same year and the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, which were overshadowed by the massacre committed by Palestinian terrorists against members of the Israeli Olympic team.


This research is of value to diverse stakeholders associated with the Hamburg bid. This includes the DOSB and officials involved in future bids in Germany, who will be able to gain insights into the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the bid from which they can learn. Similarly, members of the Hamburg senate, politicians in future host cities and members of the German parliament will be able to draw conclusions with regards towards future Olympic policies and bids. As at the time of writing the Hamburg bid has not been subjected to scientific scrutiny, this research project will seek to make a novel contribution to the Olympic debate in Germany and the bidding process.


The objective of this research is to evaluate the rationales of the DOSB and Hamburg for bidding for Olympic Games, of DOSB delegates for selecting Hamburg as a candidate city, to determine the risks involved in the selection and the influence of previous failed bids on the bidding process and to analyse the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the Hamburg bid.

Problem Statement

What were the risks of and the rationales for the selection of Hamburg to apply for the 2024 summer Olympic Games and the bidding by the DOSB and Hamburg, how was the bidding process influenced by previous unsuccessful Olympic bids and what were the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the bid?

Research Questions

1. Why did Hamburg and the DOSB want to apply for the summer Olympic Games 2024
2. How have previous applications for Olympic events influenced the DOSB’s selection factors?
3. Why did the DOSB choose Hamburg over Berlin and which risks are they taking in doing so?
4. What were the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the Hamburg bid?


This project will use a media-based qualitative content analysis. Hsleh (2015) sees content analysis as a flexible technique and an umbrella term for a variety of approaches, and based upon this, this project is best classified as a directed content analysis, as existing research into the Olympic Games has allowed me to find relevant key concepts, such as sustainability and legacy, around which I can focus my search for data in the media. Ultimately, my research will lead to the extension of previous frameworks for what constitutes successful or unsuccessful Olympic Games onto the Hamburg bid, which is in line with the goals of a directed content analysis as outlined by Hsleh. Using the codes which I have identified from my study of literature about previous Olympic Games and from my previous monitoring of the Hamburg bid, I will gather information from my sources. These sources of information include official bid documents, German and international media reports as well as notes taken by myself during presentations as part of a visit to Hamburg with the sport committee of the German parliament on September 21st 2015.

Following a literature review, I will provide an overview of the motives of Hamburg and the DOSB for an application for the Olympic Games in 2024. I will then outline the rationale for the DOSB in its selection of Hamburg rather than Berlin. Finally, I will analyse the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the bid.


This research is written without direct access to the Hamburg Application Committee for the Olympic Games. As such, it relies on information which is published by the Application Committee, the DOSB, local and national authorities or which is derived from media articles and reports. In combination with the social constructionist paradigm that underpins this research, this creates issues which will be discussed in the methodology chapter. Different media sources, furthermore, have different biases, opinions and different interests with regards to the Olympic bid. Where possible, these will be taken into account and a variety of media sources will be used in order to avoid fixation around a particular source.

2. Literature review

This chapter provides an overview of previous research and frameworks that build a foundation for the analyses in subsequent chapters (Webster and Watson, 2002). The literature review commences with a section on the concept of Olympic legacies, which are central to the Hamburg bid, and then explores the economics of staging Olympic Games, the impact of Olympic Games on host cities, the risks of staging Olympic Games and evidence from the London 2012 Olympic Games.


Chappelet (2012) argues that the concept of a legacy within the discourse of major sporting events first arose during the 1990s. At this time, the social and environmental dimensions of staging major sporting events began to be taken into consideration along with the financial costs and gains of such events. For Chappelet, the legacy of a major sporting event is “all that remains and may be considered as consequences of the event in its environment” (p.77). Where other scholars attempt to identify different types of legacy, such as Cashman (2003) and his legacy types (economic, physical infrastructure, education, public life, politics, culture, sport, memory and history), Chappelet holds that the concept of legacy can be segmented ad infinitum and instead proposes three major dimensions:

1. Tangible and intangible legacies;
2. Territorial and personal legacies;
3. Sporting and non-sporting legacies.

Distinguishing between tangible and intangible legacies allows one to distinguish, for instance, between a stadium which is left over after an Olympic event and the post-Olympic image of a city. Territorial legacies relate to the territory in which the event took place, whereas personal legacies relate to the people who experienced the event and who gained experiences and developed competencies. Finally, a sporting legacy would be immediately related to sport, such as a new stadium, whereas a non-sporting legacy could be an infrastructural development. These dimensions are outlined in the legacy matrix in Figure 1 on the following page.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten Furthermore, Chappelet distinguishes between short- and medium-term legacies, which occur in the immediate years after an event, and long-term legacies, which occur ten to twenty years after the event. Additionally, Chappelet acknowledges the importance of distinguishing between a legacy that is a direct cause of an event and would not have occurred without the specific event and a legacy which might have been implemented even without a major sports event, such as an infrastructural development. Particularly this latter point is of high relevance to the Hamburg bid.

According to Girginov (2011), legacy is not a retrospective concept, but a prospective concept, as it shapes the future through interactions between government, markets and society in order to deliver on political, environmental and social goals. Constructing a legacy, therefore, involves promising to deliver something that does not yet exist. As such, legacy also becomes a governance issue, as legacies require governance systems to design and implement them whilst maintaining a consensus amongst involved parties. A contributing factor to legacy becoming a governance issue, according to Girginov, is sustainability, which requires a balance to be struck between environmental, economic and social domains.

Many scholars adopt more critical views of legacies within the discourse of major sporting events. Girginov (2011) is amongst them, as he maintains that the concept of Olympic legacies was introduced in order to compensate for the increasing capitalistic tendencies of Olympic Games, with regards to sponsorship and commercialisation. Lenskyj (2000) argues that the underprivileged parts of society do not benefit from Olympic Games due to a lack of permanent employment opportunities after the event and to rising costs and gentrification. There is, however, mixed evidence for both of these factors, which will be identified later on.

Finally, Malfas, Theodorakis and Houlihan (2004) argue that legacy impacts can be mixed, as positive economic benefits, which will be explored further in the next section, can go hand in hand with negative social impacts, such as gentrification.

The economics of staging Olympic Games

Preuss (2008) identified four distinct periods of economic history of the modern Olympic Games:

1. Period 1 (1896-1968): financial difficulties, development of new income sources;
2. Period 2 (1969-1980): publicly financed Olympic Games;
3. Period 3 (1981-1996): inclusion of private sources of capital;
4. Period 4 (1997-2012): mixed financing, relationships between sponsors, media channels and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The characteristics of the final period are most relevant to this research as they continue to apply today. In this final period, the local Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (OCOG) bears the responsibility for delivering the games. The OCOG gains its income from non-public sources, such as the IOC, local sponsors, ticket sales, donations and licensing. The OCOG uses this money to fund the delivery of the Olympic Games, with expenditure flowing towards administration costs, marketing, transport, technology and ceremonies. Funding of the infrastructure of the Olympic Games is provided by a publicly funded body, which has different names in different cities (Olympic Co-ordination Authority in Sydney, 2000; Olympic Development Authority in London, 2012). For the London 2012 Olympic Games, this capital funding came from the Exchequer, the National Lottery, the Greater London Authority and the London Development Agency (Kenyon and Palmer, 2008).

From an economic standpoint, Preuss (2008) outlines the rationale for a city to want to host Olympic Games, with the underlying factor being that Olympic Games represent the most significant advertising opportunity available to a country. Cities are heavily exposed to media coverage during the bidding process, during the IOC voting progress, in the run-up to and especially during Olympic Games. The opening ceremonies of Olympic Games represent a unique opportunity for a country to showcase its cultural values and are watched by at least 3 billion people around the world (IOC, 2000). Preuss (2008) argues that host cities in the past often benefitted from this, with host cities profiting from factors such as improved infrastructure and increased awareness. An additional factor in a city’s rationale for hosting the Olympic Games is an influx of money which would otherwise not be spent in the city. An example of this is the money spent by OCOGs, which can benefit local businesses who provide services required by the OCOG, such as transport.

Preuss (2003) also argues that Olympic Games are easy to finance for a host country, given that the costs for the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000 and in Atlanta in 1996 were 0.006% and 0.102% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of Australia and the USA respectively. For host cities, however, the costs of financing Olympic Games make up a significantly larger portion of a city’s GDP. Preuss additionally proposes four stages in which the economic impact of Olympic Games should be measured, which are outlined in Figure 2 on the following page, in units of years.

Host cities might be particularly interested in phase IV in this model, as this constitutes the economic legacy, where host cities will hope for an increase in economic activity, for instance through new industries or increased tourism.

Cashman (2002) believes that knowing the true cost for Olympic Games is almost impossible. This is because there is no universal way of measuring the expenditure on Olympic Games. Budgets for Olympic Games are often unreliable and political in nature, meaning that costs can be moved onto other budgets by host cities. Costs for infrastructure required for an Olympic event, for instance, can be classed as regular government infrastructure spending rather than spending on Olympic Games.

Agha, Fairley and Gibson (2012) argue that hosting Olympic Games is generally more expensive than originally planned. Money which could be spent otherwise, for instance on public services, is spent on hosting Olympic Games and in the case of debts incurred in hosting the event, decades are required to pay them back. An example of this is the Olympic Games in Montreal where 30 years were required to pay back the debts. Agha et al. cite Martin (2008) in his view of the difficulty of separating changes in factors such as economic growth, tourism, inflation and unemployment that are caused by Olympic Games from changes in these factors that are caused through changes in wider economic factors, such as interest or inflation rates. In addition to the difficulty of measuring opportunity costs and the economic costs of displacing people and businesses, this makes measuring final gains and losses of Olympic Games and urban investments in general very difficult. Agha et al. illustrate this with examples: with the Olympic Games from 1960 to 2004, the annual GDP growth of host countries was consistently lower after the games than it was before. This can be explained in part, however, through significant infrastructural developments which occur before the games and thus contribute towards GDP growth. This effect, which contributes to the difficulties of quantifying the costs and benefits of staging Olympic Games in the long-run, has been described as the boom and bust cycle of hosting the Olympic Games (Madden, 2012).

The impact of Olympic Games on host cities

Cashman (2002) believes that the impact of staging Olympic Games can be divided into four periods:

1. Preparing and winning the bid for the Olympic Games;
2. The seven years between winning the bid and staging the games;
3. The weeks in which the Olympic and Paralympic Games are staged;
4. The post-Games era.

According to Cashman, many different types of impact need to be taken into consideration. These include:

- Physical changes to the city;
- Changes in the culture of the city;
- Changes to governance in the city and decision-making by authorities;
- Changes to the numbers of tourists and the levels of business activity.

The IOC (2015) believes that host cities can create post-Olympic legacies and showcase themselves internationally. Furthermore, Olympic Games can inspire people to participate in sport and provide wider benefits through cultural programmes and other activities.

Preuss (2004) argues that Olympic Games are often seen as a tool to solve urban problems and as a catalyst for urban development. This motif can explain the enthusiasm of local politicians to support bids for Olympic Games as they can publicly pride themselves on the successes in urban development that are associated with Olympic Games. Preuss and Cashman (2002) both argue that winning a bid for Olympic Games allows urban development projects to be fast-tracked due to their importance and the urgency of completing them. An example, as described by Essex and Chalkey (2003), is the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972. Here, the Games were used to develop a 280 hectare derelict area in a five-year time period which was originally supposed to be redeveloped in a 20-year time period.

Cashman (2002) states that generally the majority of a city’s inhabitants are not directly consulted on whether they want to apply for Olympic Games. When bids are won, the previously mentioned fast-tracking of the construction of Olympic venues and other infrastructure can take place with limited public consultation as projects are labelled as being of a national interest. Bids do, however, often include opinion polls or other measures which attempt to prove that the public is supportive of a bid.

Essex and Chalkey (2003) contend that the investments required in order to host Olympic Games have significantly risen as the number of participants, the level of media attention and sponsorship have all increased. They argue that since 1960, Olympic Games can be characterised as large-scale events with good organisation and specially-built facilities with a significant degree of impact on urban infrastructure. An example of this is the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992, which became an example for Olympic Games facilitating urban revitalisation with the construction of the Olympic village and a public space in a declining industrial area.

Essex and Chalkey furthermore outline the different types infrastructure required for Olympic Games. This includes sports facilities, transportation, accommodation and general physical urban improvements. The latter refers to improvements in areas such as telecommunications infrastructure, as occurred in Barcelona for the 1992 Olympic Games. With regards to accommodation, Essex and Chalkey argue that changes in tourism are short-lived and that it is questionable whether investments into new hotels will be profitable in the long-run after the event. This can be problematic for host cities that will experience a large temporary influx in visitors during Olympic Games.

The risks of staging Olympic Games

Essex and Chalkey also outline a number of risks in hosting Olympic Games that are both economic and social in nature. Firstly, as previously discussed, money can be diverted away from welfare spending, as was the case with the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000. Secondly, taxes can be levied to pay for Olympic infrastructure. Thirdly, negative urban development in relation to Olympic Games can occur through gentrification. Displaced individuals can be removed from their social networks while remaining residents can be alienated by their changed environments with services that target different social groups. Increased rent prices were recorded in Seoul in 1988 and in Barcelona in 1992. In other cities, however, this effect could not be observed, for example in Sydney in 2000. Fourthly, the environment in host cities can suffer as a result of Olympic Games. In many potential host cities local groups form to oppose Olympic bids for a fear of detrimental environmental impacts. These externalities, however, are not exclusive to Olympic Games, as they can occur with other urban development projects.

Evidence from the London 2012 Olympic Games

The UK government commissioned a meta-evaluation of the London 2012 Olympic Games legacy. This unique approach provides valuable insights into the legacy outcomes of the London 2012 Olympic Games. The results of the final report (Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2013) are summarised in the table on the following page.


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Analysing the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of the Hamburg Bid for the 2024 Olympic Games
Loughborough University
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Die Note im britischen Notensystem war eine 70, entspricht ca. 1,3 im deutschen System.
analysing, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, hamburg, olympic, games
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David Metcalf (Author), 2016, Analysing the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of the Hamburg Bid for the 2024 Olympic Games, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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