Mega-sport Events, Micro and Small Business Leveraging: Introducing the “MSE-MSB Leverage Model”

Take a look at my latest co-written article published in the peer-reviewed journal, Event Management.

The article provides a detailed review of mega-sport event (MSE) impacts on existing micro and small business (MSBs) residing within targeted host communities, illustrates a conceptual and practical examination of MSE leveraging opportunities, and outlines a synthesis of good inclusionary practices identified in previous MSE case studies.

You can view the journal article’s abstract below. The full version of the article is available here.

If you cannot access the journal article you can request a copy by contacting me through my institutional email address or on Twitter @sethkirby.


Micro and small business (MSB) interests legitimize mega-sport event (MSE) candidature bids. Yet, MSB interests can be sidelined in the event lead up, live staging, and legacy periods. This article provides a detailed: 1) review of MSE impacts on existing MSBs residing within targeted host communities, 2) conceptual and practical examination of MSE leveraging opportunities, 3) synthesis of good inclusionary practices identified in previous MSE case studies. As a result, a series of general and specific ways MSEs can foster MSB leveraging and legitimize local interests are suggested. We present a comprehensive analysis of key works since mid-1990s related to the themes identified above. Our analysis identifies that there is limited conceptual and empirical research on MSB impact and leveraging activities in the context of MSEs, yet significant evidence points to negative experiences, disruption, and displacement effects on residential (host) communities. We purposively focus on good practice in the context of other MSEs from the Olympics Games (e.g., London 2012, Rio 2016) and FIFA World Cup (e.g., South Africa, 2010) to inform recommendations and managerial implications. We outline a systematic series of ways MSBs can be structurally excluded from accessing MSE leveraging opportunities. Building on Chalip’s widely adopted event leverage model (ELM), we present the “MSE–MSB Leverage Model” to illustrate how MSEs can (re)position MSBs as legitimate stakeholders to support greater leveraging opportunities and better (re)distribute event benefits back into host communities across planning and delivery stages. These range from reconfiguring: 1) event planning principles and policies, 2) regulatory and trading environments, and 3) the development of MSB business-to-business networks and partnerships.

#EASM2018 Conference Daily Update

This is my blog updates page from the European Association for Sport Management (EASM) main conference and PhD student seminar, taking place from the 4-8 September 2018 at Malmö University, Sweden. You will find below thoughtful observations and analysis shared during the course of the conference. I have included at the bottom of this post links to my Twitter handle and the EASM 2018 Twitter timeline.

In terms of acknowledging potential conflicts of interest, I would like to disclose that I have been awarded the EASM Alberto Madella Scholarship to attend the conference (more details here).

Day 1 blog – reflection, commentary and analysis

Read my day one review of the EASM PhD student seminar below, which includes insights, observations and analysis. Additionally, you will find a selection of conference photos, as well as some of the iconic sites and scenery throughout central Malmö.

Day one

Today saw the start of the EASM PhD Seminar which convened at Malmö University, Sweden. After short group introductions on arrival, Johan Norberg delivered the opening keynote on the role of the Swedish state in sport. He highlighted numerous sport and health indicators, pertaining to Sweden and Scandinavian sports and welfare models more broadly. The changing role of the state and complex relationships between special sports federations and district federations were emphasised throughout the talk. State support continues to be viewed as pivotal in the development of grassroots sports. Sweden’s sports policy system is geared towards attaining public health outcomes using sporting activity, as opposed to channelling results via the means of elite stars and medal success on the global stage. Increasingly, sports evaluation and monitoring mechanisms have featured as a priority for government commissions, particularly when assessing how funding is allocated to sports bodies. Later on in the morning a number of insightful parallel paper presentations included topics, from elite sports policy development to the demand for local league football in Sub-Saharan Africa. Straight after lunch the group heard from the second keynote on using documents in sport management research. Ulrik Wagner (University of Southern Denmark) reflected on the principles and challenges when attempting to embed texts (e.g. policy and governmental reports) into research design, data collection and overarching methodological application. The final slot of the day was devoted to the next batch of presentations. I thoroughly enjoyed the eclectic range of sport management themes and issues covered. The session that I attended explored areas such as national governing bodies’ performance, and volunteering legacies of the Youth Olympic Games. Please see a few photographs of the PhD seminar and Malmö’s scenic views below. The Malmö city library is well worth a visit!

Day 2 blog – reflection, commentary and analysis

Read my day two review of the EASM PhD student seminar below, which includes insights, observations and analysis. Additionally, you will find a selection of conference photos, as well as some of the iconic sites and scenery throughout central Malmö.

Day two

On the second day of the PhD symposium, Veerle de Bosscher, provided a comprehensive overview of the Sports Policy Factors Leading to International Sporting Success (SpLiSS) project instrument and protocols. Her keypoints and takeaways emphasised the fundamental pillars and critical success factors that explain and determine international elite performance success. Although, there was a focus on composite indicators which facilitated pattern recognition, it was acknowledged that there is no generic blueprint to predicting nations’ sporting medal winning prospects. The notion of sports policy benchlearning rather than benchmarking was proclaimed to be more beneficial for transferring principles as opposed to ‘best practice’. Wednesday morning’s paper session created fertile ground for a thought provoking debate on the areas and issues of collective impact, governance and Olympic legacy management. Immediately after the lunch break the next invited keynote on principles, pitfalls and challenges of developing scales for quantitative research was delivered. In this instance, a variety of academic journal article examples and 10 essential steps to developing scales were proffered eloquently by Jorg Koenigstorfer. The last session comprised Paul Downward (Editor of European Sport Management Quarterly) and Tracy Taylor (University of Technology Sydney) sharing their expert advice and experience on how to approach submissions, common manuscript mistakes, responding to reviewers, research quality and rankings in the UK and Australia, and researcher challenges faced during the publication process. In the evening time delegates were welcomed to EASM’s opening ceremony (pictured below). The conference ceremony showcased the historical background of Malmö, and illustrated the city’s recent post-industrial reinvention and rejuvenation through sport. For example, lauding Malmö’s alternative sport scene and budding reputation as a skateboarding metropolis. You will find below more photos from day two, such as Malmö University librarys’ spectacular views.

Day 3 blog – reflection, commentary and analysis

Read my day three review of the EASM conference below, which includes insights, observations and analysis. Additionally, you will find a selection of conference photos, as well as some of the iconic sites and scenery throughout central Malmö.

Day three

The first day of the main conference was packed with a host of sessions relevant to my subject discipline and interests. For the purpose of this review, I am going to highlight some of my favourites. After the earlier keynote, I scheduled to visit a range of presentations on the ‘sport events and tourism’ thematic stream. Reinhard Grohs focused on how sports events create value across each of the event phases – concept, planning and implementation. Three key categories that emerged from the research project on freeriding communities were social networking, integration of brands and community engagement. Next, adopting a process tracing approach and programme theory logic, Chen’s Olympic legacy assessment revealed weak support for claims about the impact of staging London 2012 and Sportsmaker programme on motivations to engage with volunteering. My colleague Mat Dowling presented his research exploring meta-governance and the creation of new organisational forms within the hierarchy of Canadian sport e.g. Canadian Sport for Life. In the legal and ethical aspects of sport tracked stream, integrated monitoring strategies, policy change and possessing an independent taskforce were illuminated and posited as mechanisms for addressing sexual abuse and institutional liability in Olympic sport. At a international level, I felt there were clear parallels in which recommendations from this research could feed into the processes and procedures of the Major Sporting Events Platform for Human Rights. One final session which I will briefly touch upon was delivered by Alex Thurston (Loughborough University). This co-written piece of research completed a systematic scoping exercise to examine how regulatory frameworks are formulated to control infrastructure procurement, applied to several worldwide major sporting events. In terms of competitive bidding and transparency during the tendering and awarding of contracts, a stronger impetus is needed to deal with lack of access and opportunities for smaller suppliers to event procurement platforms, such as CompeteFor (used at London 2012). Additionally, I have included some pictures below, incorporating the student seminar finalist pitches and my mini excursion to Malmöhus Castle. Enjoy!

Day 4 blog – reflection, commentary and opinion

Read my day four review of the EASM conference below, which includes insights, observations and analysis. Additionally, you will find a selection of conference photos, as well as some of the iconic sites and scenery throughout central Malmö.

Day four

This is my last EASM conference post as I travelled back to the UK yesterday afternoon. There were some highly relevant and captivating conference sessions featured before the EASM Annual General Meeting (AGM). I was in the audience for presentations on non-league football stakeholder management strategies (e.g. supporter-led campaigns), and evolving models of delivery in sport management education. Latterly, the tautology of new private sports education providers partnering with iconic venues, like UCFC Wembley. In principle, exploring these types of relationships has ramifications for how major sporting event partnerships align with bidding conception, rendering and coordination, as well as the role and creation of industry opportunities linked directly to these educational institutes. Before I left to catch my train and flight home I attended the annual AGM. As is common with a number of member associations, often, changes to the constitution bye-laws and charter are proposed, covering aspects, for example, inserting new membership clauses and passing or rejecting motions. These decisions are discussed in detail with members and subsequently ratified. At the AGM, issues across a wide spectrum were deliberated on, from gender representation to nationality on the board.

Here is an assortment of final pics from the conference and around Malmö. Thank you for checking out this set of posts. Perhaps, if you liked these updates, you might want to subscribe to hear more about my sport management research. You can do this by clicking ‘follow Seth Kirby’ or adding your email address on the right hand side of the page, under ‘follow blog via email’. No sales pitches, I promise! Likewise, if you have any comments or feedback, want a copy of my conference presentation slides, or require some images of Malmö, please feel free to get in touch here. I’ll do my best to help where I can. Alternatively, follow my social media links on the right hand side to contact me.

Twitter: @sethkirby


From “clone towns” to “slow towns”: examining festival legacies

Take a look at my latest journal article published in the Journal of Place Management and Development alongside other researchers from Anglia Ruskin University (UK) and Bond University (Australia).

The full version is available here. You can view the journal article’s abstract below.

On a side note, I will be presenting some of the findings from this paper later on this month at the Third International Conference on Tourism & Leisure Studies in Lanzarote. If you’re interested in attending or following proceedings online, the conference keynote speakers and programme sessions are detailed here. You can find updates from the conference on Twitter using @tourism_leisure handle and #tls18 hashtag.


Purpose – This paper aims to examine the role of grassroots (food) festivals for supporting the sustainability of micro and small producers, whilst exploring potential productive linkages between both stakeholders (festivals and producers) for enhancing a more authentic cultural offering and destination image in the visitor economy.
Design/methodology/approach – This paper is exploratory, qualitative and inductive. Evidence is underpinned by a purposive sample, drawing on ten in-depth interviews and 17 open-ended survey responses collected across 2014 and 2015 – drawing perspectives from traders participating in the EAT Cambridge festival.
Findings – This paper unpacks a series of serendipitous [as opposed to “strategic”] forms of festival and producer leveraging; strengthening B2C relationships and stimulating business to business networking and creative entrepreneurial collaborations. Positive emergent “embryonic” forms of event legacy are identified that support the longer-term sustainability of local producers and contribute towards an alternative idea of place and destination, more vibrant and authentic connectivity with localities and slower visitor experiences.
Originality/value – This study emphasises the importance of local bottom-up forms of “serendipitous leverage” for enhancing positive emergent “embryonic” legacies that advance “slow” tourism and local food agendas. In turn, this enhances the cultural offering and delivers longer-term sustainability for small local producers – particularly vital in the era of “Clone Town” threats and effects. The paper applies Chalip’s (2004) event leverage model to the empirical setting of EAT Cambridge and conceptually advances the framework by integrating “digital” forms of leverage.

Tourism and Leisure Studies Emerging Scholars Award

In early 2018, scrolling through an international tourism research and education network, I stumbled upon the final call for applications for an Emerging Scholar Award to attend the Third International Conference on Tourism & Leisure Studies. The awards are given to outstanding graduate students and emerging scholars who have a research interest in the conference themes.

The application process required me to concisely establish how my research linked to the key themes of the conference. The special focus for the 2018 conference is “building bridges to sustainability: tourism, culture, gastronomy and sport”, which fits and compliments the areas which I’m actively researching. Moreover, I was expected to demonstrate how I may contribute to the scope of the conference, and how I could effectively engage with emerging and established academics to develop interdisciplinary theory, practice and learning.

My background and experience in coordinating various events, presenting at recent conferences and symposium, and other professional work (e.g. teaching) suitably indicated the breadth of my key generic and technical skills. The closing date was looming so I tentatively submitted an awards application – not expecting to get a look in if I’m perfectly honest! I ruled myself out of the running and moved forward with my studies. Lo and behold a month or so later I was delighted to be notified by the organisers that I was going to be a recipient of one of the Emerging Scholar Awards.
Seeking out this route for attending international events is certainly not only beneficial for subsidising conference fees (I received a fee waiver!), coupled with enabling access to hard-to-reach locations, and enhancing wider engagement with the major players in your field or industry. Increasingly opportunities to attend through these means are scarce. As part of the programme, I will be chairing a number of themed panel sessions and presenting during the course of the conference.

This highly supportive environment is useful for professional and career development, building collaborations, and at the very least exploring a new place alongside interesting folk! In light of this award recognition, I envisage the platform as being instrumental in raising my profile and offering welcomed exposure to many of the leading lights and associated parties in the fields of tourism, events and leisure studies. So, next time you spot a similar opportunity, why not have a go and see where it takes you. What’s the worst that can happen?

World Book Day: Environment and sustainability books

To celebrate World Book Day I have collated a directory of environmental and sustainability must reads! You can find the link to download the full listing at the bottom of this entry.

The directory rounds-up books from a range of genres and subjects, including climate change, environment, sustainability, activism, politics, economy and business. Seminal works are featured on this list, particularly from leading figures associated with the converging worlds of environmental justice, sustainability and climate activism, such as prominent advocates like Jonathon Porritt, Naomi Klein and Bill Mckibben.

You will be able to view the open access links to various author websites and/or publishers. This collection will be updated on a regular basis, perhaps quarterly based on new releases and feedback received. So feel free to suggest any additions!

Download and access the directory here.

Urban entrepreneurism and business competitiveness: the state of play for Rio de Janeiro post-Games

Last Tuesday, I presented at the 2nd International Workshop on Regeneration, Enterprise, Sport and Tourism (REST) at Liverpool John Moores University, UK.

If you’re interested in reading my conference abstract (on academia or ResearchGate) or would like to view my presentation (on SlideShare), you can find it in the links below:




Rio EnCantos Tours Brazil

This afternoon I visited the offices of Rio EnCantos and felt inspired to write a short piece featuring their approach to developing community driven and ecological sensitive tours across Rio de Janeiro. Rio EnCantos is a grassroots tour and exchange agency led by Kelly Tavares and her experienced and knowledgeable team of guides. The travel agency offers an extensive number of cultural and historical tour options and educational exchange programmes, which help visitors to discover the treasures and raise awareness of socio-cultural issues and development in Rio de Janeiro.

Cultural tours are bespoke and highlight the quality of the “Cariocas” lifestyle and the richness of the city’s wonders and attractions. Excursions include experiencing the delights of Rio’s historic street art, introducing a flavour of Cariacas through off the beaten track city, sightseeing and wildlife tours, lunch and tasting sessions, strolls through Rio’s Little Africa, hikes, adventure and outdoor activities, trips to art exhibitions, heritage sites and museums, coffee experiences, in addition to immersing groups into the culture and music of Brazil, like the beats of the samba schools. Ultimately, this brings to life the authenticity of the setting such as Rio de Janeiro’s charming ideals, traditions and architecture, and facilitates a greater understanding and recognition of the local culture and unique urban and rural communities.

Rio EnCantos work with a range of other organisations to extend the reach of the global community who are going to enormous lengths to provide environmentally friendly services which have a positive community impact. For example, community-based adventure travel experts, Keteka. Their approach respects codes of ethics and acknowledges the importance of preserving natural capital, and the integral relationship with many societal and community challenges. Furthermore, they are listed on the Ethical Travel Guide – a worldwide directory of ethical tour operators and places to visit.

Collaboration with local and international partners and linking non-profit organisations with international students is firmly embedded into the core of their operations. They develop partnerships with local tour guides, universities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and support local social enterprises to create favourable social, economic and environmental conditions. This not only expands the network of stakeholders who could benefit from the activities of the organisation, but also promotes and empowers individual guides, builds trust with their customer base and enhances the tourist offer. They have received glowing praise and recommendations from travellers and trekkers alike. You can find out more on their website, view the trailer below or check out the reviews of theirs tours here.

#RioZones research project

Not long to go now! I’m just finishing up final preparations before I head out to Rio de Janeiro on Saturday for two weeks to conduct field research for my PhD.

This study examines how small and medium-sized businesses based in Porto Maravilha have been impacted by the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. You can find out more about my research and how it fits into phase 2 of the #RioZones project here, and of course subscribe to daily updates on the menu section of the #RioZones blog!

You will find below the #RioZones Twitter hashtag timeline for a selection of thoughtful observations, and a short video introduction of me discussing my research. Apologies for the rather dishevelled look and hairdo, I did in fact brush my hair before you ask…

Fostering small business socio-economic sustainability and legacies in the context of mega-events: A ‘Stakeholder Theory’ approach

On Thursday, I presented at the Mega Events: Fact or Fairy Tales Conference, Coventry University.

If you’re interested in reading my conference abstract (on academia or ResearchGate) or would like to view my presentation (on SlideShare), you can find it in the links below:




Transforming a region’s food and drink brand profile using a city-based festival

In December, I will be presenting at the International Place Branding Association (IPBA) 2nd Annual Conference. If you’re interested in reading my conference abstract (on academia or ResearchGate), you can find it in the links below:



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