and contrast two major international sports events with which you are
familiar, highlighting the different approaches undertaken in their
as a spectacle is not a recent ideal; in fact the oldest standing
building in Rome is the Colosseum ( R,Smith cited in Graham, Goldblatt
and Delpy. 1995). However, modern society has embraced sport, which has
now become a social phenomenon of vast complexity and magnitude.
Technologies, especially the media have elevated many (not all)
sports, players, managers, coaches and officials to previously
unsurpassed levels. The
appearance of talented individuals such as Tiger Woods can re-ignite the
imagination of the public, which can increase the popularity of an
event. Thus, TV and
satellite broadcasting dedicates not only sports channels as with
BskyB’s Sky Sports 1, 2, and 3 but channels on US Cable such as the
golf channel focusing on an individual sport 24hrs a day.
Therefore it is easy to see why sporting events are targeted by
corporations who see these events as veritable gold mines, providing
lucrative airtime for advertising and sponsorship. The Sports Marketing
Group (1990) reported that corporate America spent a total of $23.5
billion on sports marketing alone.
However as this essay will show financial incentives may detract
from the event itself, disregarding the Corinthian sporting ideals in
favour of more hard line business acumen. A delicate balancing act in
terms of organisation and management is therefore required catering for
the needs of all who are affected by the event itself.
essay will compare and contrast the organisation of two major events
within the sporting calendar: The Ryder Cup of Golf drawing upon
information from the 1999 and 2001 matches and the South Pacific Games (SPG)
encompassing 1996 and the 1999 events. The Ryder Cup is played
biennially between two teams, the USA and Europe with two practice days
followed by three days of competition.
The SPG is a multi-event competition between the islands of the
South Pacific region similar to that of the Olympics. Both event
organisers will be examined in terms of cultural, financial and ethical
approaches. At this
juncture it is necessary to understand that there are no similarities
between the cultures or the events other than golf was played as an
event during the 1991 SPG although on a much less sophisticated scale.
major difference is that of culture and ethics with the people of the
South Pacific appearing to have a more altruistic outlook than the more
capitalist western approach. The
culture of the South Pacific often called the ‘ Pacific Way’ is akin
to the ‘extended family’ of Africa, in that hospitality and goodwill
is extended to all within the region.
An example of this good nature was evident during the 1991 SPG in
Papua New Guinea (PNG) where one country’s passports were lost (en
masse) prior to their arrival and accreditation.
The officials of SPG (not all natives) were apprehensive as to
the team’s response when they arrived at midnight only to find a
lengthy accreditation process greeting them. However contrary to
perceived fears the team donned the guitars and started to sing and
dance whilst they waited thus perpetuating the pacific way.
During the 1999 SPG in Guam, Radio Australia reported that six
Fijian athletes were sent home after breaking the no-alcohol policy and
staying out past the curfew.
The same games were also in jeopardy due to the Kosovo refugee
crisis and the possibility that Guam would be used as a receiving centre
for these displaced persons. This
somewhat altruistic attitude is the basis for any organisational
decision-making and whilst noble in ideal all battles cannot be fought
at once. Therefore a shrewd
decision of drafting in thirty to forty foreign nationals to bolster the
committees was taken, probably to ensure that deadlines were met and the
games continued on time. From the outset SPG was to be an event for the
people and this ideal was underpinned by the official games slogan and
song ‘Lets do it Papua New Guinea.’ (SPG news.1991.)
is in complete contrast to the elitist and capitalist appearance of the
Ryder Cup 1999 where money and greed seem to be the main stays of the
organisers. The local
populous of ’99 venue, Brooklyn, Massachusetts had to apply for passes
to allow them to park outside their own homes during Ryder Cup week.
(Townonline. 1999.)) During
this week the roads were closed, bus routes changed and any person
failing to comply would have their vehicle towed away. The sweetener for
such upheaval seems to be projected boost to the local economy estimated
at $150m (Golf Weekly. 1999.) although this does seem cold comfort once
your vehicle has been taken. Further
hostilities came to the fore prior to the event with US players and
organisers engaged in heated debate over the payment for taking part in
the competition. It is
worth noting that all players must qualify by amassing Ryder Cup points
which are given for top ten finishes at certain events in the year prior
to the event. This means in
order to be selected a player will have earned approximately $750,000.
It could be argued that pulling on the colours of your country is
payment enough, add to this that all players receive subsistence of
$5000 (USPGA. 1999.) and the notion of greed falls easy on the lips of
the greatest difference between the organisation of these events is that
of finance both in terms of procurement and expenditure. Due to the size
of the islands and their small economies attracting outside corporate
sponsorship appears to be difficult.
However the SPG 1991
boxed clever balancing out local and corporate investment along with
making any monies invested double tax deductible. (SPGF.1991.)(2)
committee had just enough corporate sponsorship to give financial
stability with the correct blend of local sponsorship as to keep their
national identity. It may
be suggested that by using too much corporate sponsorship the identity
of the people is somewhat diluted which may be the real fear for the
organisers. The largest
investor in the games was the government totalling $3.7m in capital and
much more in revenue followed by Pepsi with $2.5m, other corporate
sponsors such as Nestle then various local sponsors ($400,000) again
keeping the games tied to the people and their economy. (SPGF)(1)
use of other nations was employed by the organisers of SPG 1991 when
China, Korea, UK, Japan and France all gave generously in terms of
capital, revenue or in kind to the games.(SPGF)(2)
at the heartstrings of duty and nostalgia seems to have worked extremely
well as all these nations have colonised or had a stake in the region in
Ryder cup is by contrast very different in that solely private
investment has been used by the organisers which this is partly because
of the sport’s popularity and negates the inclusion of government
finance. Due to such
popularity the sums of investment are much greater than SPG and allow
for the inclusion of TV and a much more sophisticated corporate
only a minor adage for SPG corporate hospitality at the Ryder Cup 1999
amassed $32m encompassing 300 plus tables at $50,000 each and 59 tents
ranging from $275,000 - $500,000 each. These fantastical sums of money
take the event well out of the reach of the average spectator and do
little to dispel the rumours of elitism and greed.
SPG notion of an event for the people and not the purse is further given
credence when tickets and profitability are examined.
The organisers of the event only wanted to break even and this
enabled ticket prices to be kept to a minimum ($2), within the reach of
the average local persons budget, which allowed for maximum
spectatorship. Although approximately 250,000 tickets were sold this
only equates to about 6.25% of the population of Papua New Guinea alone
which does suggest that not everyone was as committed as the organisers
would have liked. The total
income generated including sponsors came to $18.5m with total expenses
of $20.5m leaving a deficit of around $2m, (SPGF. 1991.)(1),
which was paid by the government although in such a small country’s
economy it is hard to see how the public will not have to carry the
burden of this deficit via other public services.
the Ryder Cup 1999 seems to be about turning a profit with tickets
costing $275 (£155) each, with approximately 30,000 visitors a day this
amounted to $8.25m over the five days. The organisers could be guilty of
pricing the event too high and again perpetuating the myth of elitism.
Interestingly the Telegraph (10 August 1999) reported that the Ryder Cup
2001 in the UK is projected to double the cost of tickets to a
staggering £300 per person for all five days and individual days cannot
be purchased. Nick Faldo suggested that ‘the gallery at the 2001 Ryder
Cup could be peopled by corporate types rather than run-of-the-mill
golfers.’ (Telegraph.1999.) This commercial approach to the event may
be at the cost of many genuine golf fans that could feel alienated due
to the overwhelming prices. Kate
Hoey of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport concurred with this
The Government would like to see the tickets going to genuine fans. Our
catch phrase is Sport for all, and applies as much to spectators as
Electronic Telegraph. Issue 1537.1999.)
income raised was approximately $65m for fives days of golf although the
amount of sponsorship was not disclosed by the organisers.
. However, the PGA of America reckon their expenses will be $40
million leaving a clear profit of approximately $25m which is split
between the PGA of the host nation and the venue. With such fantastical
profit for only five days the players may be entitled to feel exploited
when so much money is being made.
SPG’s financial policy could be considered honourable in recent years
it has run into difficulties with four of the events in the 1999 Guam
games being dropped due to lack of finance and interest.
During the run up period to the 1999 games the organising
committee needed to find cheaper alternative accommodation for the
athletes. The president of
the committee said ‘Even
if it means that our athletes sleep on mattresses on the floor, the
Games will continue.’(Sir John Dawanicura. PAC news. 7 April 1990.)
is a view that is hard to imagine happening to the well-heeled athletes
of the western world. This just getting by attitude is in stark contrast
when the cost of the Ryder Cup player’s wives outfits ($275,000) is
summary both the events are in stark contrast to each other although it
may be suggested that it is primarily the cultural difference that is
behind such contrasting organisations.
The SPG does appear to have a more altruistic attitude to the
staging of this event but could be guilty of betraying its ‘Pacific
Way’ by remaining rather insular.
However the governments of these island paradises may have real
fears of exposing their peoples to Western capitalism and could see the
west as bringing nothing but bad influences some of which are evident in
the Ryder Cup. Having the government as the central focus seems to have
allowed SPG to keep its perspective but the Ryder Cup utilising the
commercial sector has let market forces get out of control and may be
pricing itself out of its grass roots market.
The abundance of finance has turned the Ryder Cup into a ‘cash
cow’, which has turned media attention to the financial administration
rather than the event. For
the SPG striking the balance between public and private investment has
been proven to be the crux for success but solely private investment
however may be considered as less successful in terms of public
relations or grass roots spectatorship, although in terms of
profitability the private investment of the Ryder Cup seems to be a
major success. Is the Ryder
Cup losing sight of its grass roots or are they clearly in sight but
Graham, Goldblatt and Delpy. 1995. The Ultimate Guide to Organising and Marketing sports events. New York,USA
Pacific Games Foundation 1999. (SPGF.)
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(2) South Pacific Games Foundation. 1991. Souvenir Programme – 9th SPG. Papua new Guinea 1991, P18-19. SPGF, PNG.
South Pacific Games News. 1991. Issue number 3. SPGF, PNG.
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