Governance, sport and the city: realising mega sporting events in London.

Herring, Rachel ORCID logoORCID: (2006) Governance, sport and the city: realising mega sporting events in London. PhD thesis, Middlesex University. [Thesis]

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Mega sports events have become important tools for cities seeking to enhance their global position, undertake regeneration and promote tourism and there is intense competition to win the rights to host events, particularly the Olympics, World Athletics Championships and FIFA World Cup. Using the case of the abandoned Lee Valley National Athletics Centre (LVNAC) project and the loss of the rights to stage the 2005 World Athletics Championships in London as a case study, this thesis sets out. To explore the inter-relationships between governance, sport and the city, with a particular focus on mega sports events. .A qualitative approach was adopted to enable processes to be explored and to tease out linkages between different aspects of governance, levels of governance, sport and governance and the various interested parties. This thesis is multi-disciplinary in its approach, using concepts from a variety of disciplines including social policy, geography, urban studies and politics. It is underpinned by an integrative theoretical framework drawing elements primarily from urban regime theory, theories of policy networks and multi-level governance.
This thesis is based on the premise that the key to understanding the failure of the LVNAC project as well as the development of other mega sporting projects lies in understanding the prevailing governance arrangements. A working hypothesis was developed to guide the thesis, which is that the relative failure of the UK to bid for, and stage mega-sports events in the recent past is rooted within aspects of the network style of governance that evolved in London and other UK cities. In order to explore this proposition and to more fully understand the failure of the LVNAC project this thesis compares how other nations and cities (both within the UK and abroad) approach mega sports events and their experiences of staging mega sports events. Drawing on documentary sources and semi-structured interviews with key players involved with the LVNAC project, the 'story' of the Lee Valley National Athletics Centre is told. The analysis of the LVNAC project locates the project within the evolving governance arrangements for London- the re-instatement of city-wide government and election of the Mayor in 2001. Comparison is made with the subsequent successful London bid for the 2012 Olympics.
This thesis demonstrates the importance of governance issues throughout the whole mega sports events process and at all levels of governance. In particular this thesis has shown that three elements of governance -leadership, vision and strategy -play a critical role in securing and delivering successful mega sports events. The failure of the LVNAC project was the result of failures on all these fronts whilst the success of the London Olympic bid was largely because these elements were in place. This thesis highlights the critical role played by cities but also the continuing importance of central government in the mega sporting events process. Furthermore, this thesis has demonstrated the value of studying an apparent failure. So often the emphasis within policy and political arenas is on learning from success and consequently failures are often overlooked as a source of positive knowledge.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: A thesis submitted to Middlesex University in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education > Mental Health, Social Work and Interprofessional Learning
Item ID: 6749
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Depositing User: Repository team
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2010 10:30
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2022 02:14

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