Deccio and Baloglu (2002) indicate that community support for an event will depend on the perceived benefits and costs associated with the event. There are a range of potential impacts linked to hosting a mega-event. On of the main perceived benefits is the creation of short-term and long-term employment opportunities (Page & Hall 2003; Hall 2004). Fredline (2004) states that a range of factors inform residents’ reactions to events. One of the main factors is the anticipated direct benefits, especially financial opportunities through employment or ownership as well as their perception of justice in the distribution of these costs and benefits. Ritchie and Aitken (1984) assert that price inflation, tax burdens, and mismanagement of public funds are frequently cited negative impacts associated with events. They further illustrate that perceived social issues such as community pride and international recognition were viewed as being important benefits by residents at previous Olympic Games. Mihalik and Cummings (1995) identify social costs perceived to be associated with the 1996 Olympic Games which included traffic congestion, law enforcement strain and increased crime. Fredline (2004) indicates that identification with the event theme, contact (physical proximity to the event and involvement in event activities) and their perception of their ability to participate in the planning process also influence how residents respond to an event. Furthermore, the social and political values of residents as well as their level of attachment to the community are viewed as being important. Fredline (2004) indicates that the following factors influence residents’ reactions to events:
Financial benefit from the event (through employment or ownership);
Identification with the event theme;
Contact (usually defined by residential proximity);
The social and political values of residents;
Their perception of their ability to participate in the planning process;
Residents’ level of attachment to the community; and
Their perception of justice in the distribution of the costs and benefits of the event.
Fredline and Faulkner’s (2002) study on resident reactions to the staging of two recurring motorsport events, the Indy Gold Coast and the Australian Formula One Grand Prix, revealed that those who live in areas closest to the hub of the event are likely to be most affected. It is for this reason that the residents living in close proximity to the Green Point (competition venue) and Athlone (training venue) were the focus of the study.
STADIA AND LEGACIES
Swart and Bob (2007) illustrate that increasingly the long-term legacies and sustainability imperatives associated with the hosting of mega-events are being questioned given the massive initial economic investments required. Whitson and Horne (2006: 73) indicate that proponents of mega-event projects tend to make over-optimistic economic estimates, while dissenters raise concerns about “public debt and opportunity costs when public money is spent on architecturally dazzling stadia and other spectacular infrastructure”. In terms of infrastructural development (transport and stadia development being the biggest investments), it is generally assumed that the construction of infrastructure in particular will generate local economic activity and resultant jobs. Also, Swart and Bob (2007) indicate that it is often assumed that a suitably located stadium will contribute to the reimaging of a location as well as retain and attract capital and people. Furthermore, they state that from a political and developmental perspective, the creation of jobs and wider positive economic impacts are often used to justify massive state commitments and investments.