The Business of Events: Perspectives from Global Sporting Spectacles

Module description


The global sports market is a major economic player. PwC estimate it be worth US$145 Billion by the end of 2015 This module aims to advance your knowledge of the commercial opportunities presented by major sport events.  Through the lens of global sporting spectacles, this module will explore how business is done at and through events, by event companies and their commercial partners.  By the end of the module, you will have a deeper understanding of the principles and practices driving the commercial direction of events, as well as the skills to present material using media preferred by event organizers.

Additional Information:


The sports marketplace is global in reach and sport is an international business.  This module is taught using examples of major sporting events from around the world and illustrated by the involvement of major international brands and businesses.


Major sporting spectacles and mega-events – like the Olympics and FIFA World Cup - have the principles of sustainable development at their heart, embedded in the bidding process, and long-term ‘legacy’ is a major feature in successful bids. As a result, sustainable development is a cross-cutting strand throughout the syllabus.

External Engagement

Through the industry contacts of the module lead, the syllabus will be enriched by the participation of guest speakers from CSM Sports and Entertainment, World Rugby, Puma and London 2017 World Championships.


Previously, the module convenor has supported students in securing internship opportunities and employment in various event related jobs abroad, including the Rugby World Cup 2015, FIFA Football World Cup 2014, London 2012 Olympic Games, the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games, and the Volvo Ocean Race. Through these opportunities, students are able to gain valuable practical experience of event management, team-working, and presentation skills.

Please note that this module will not be running in 2017/18.

Full module specification

Module title:The Business of Events: Perspectives from Global Sporting Spectacles
Module code:BEM3042
Module level:3
Academic year:2016/7
Module lecturers:
  • George Blake - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 2:


Module aims

This module will examine the range of commercial opportunities presented by major events as well as the actors involved in, and beneficiaries from, business done at and through events.  These issues will be investigated through the lens of global sporting spectacles, which represent the majority of the world’s largest events.  The module will critically analyze how commercial relationships from events are managed and directed, with a particular emphasis on the different business models and success factors that drive them.  Drawing on the module leader’s personal experiences within the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and the Rugby World Cup (as well as examples from other sports), the principal aim is to equip students with the necessary tools and conceptual frameworks to compile and present evidence-based assessments of the commercial viability of events.


ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. demonstrate in oral and written settings understanding of the specific nature of the business propositions, commercial opportunities and corporate markets associated with large-scale events, as well as the economic roles, motivations and interests of various stakeholders involved in their organization
  • 2. understand and critique in writing and verbally the various principles and practices involved in successful (and unsuccessful) sponsorship programmes and marketing strategies used in major global events
  • 3. articulate and communicate effectively in writing and oral presentations, the critical issues and difficulties associated with assessing the returns on investments in major events, in particular from the perspective of the multiple stakeholders

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. relate in writing and verbally how the assessment of commercial opportunities and business propositions associated with events relate to wider principles of organizational management and marketing
  • 5. connect the practitioner and academic knowledges on the business of events as they relate to the comparison of theory, concept and evidence
  • 6. develop and present to an audience of peers through visual media succinct but critical material related to the business of events

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. synthesize, present and summarize a range of data, evidence and arguments in writing for academic and practitioner audiences
  • 8. work autonomously alone and within a team to deliver a visual and verbal presentation in terms of time management, working to deadlines, and utilising a variety of sources
  • 9. demonstrate appropriate and innovative use of ICT and IT, specifically through advanced presentation packages
  • 10. 10. use personal reflection as a basis for the assessment of work by fellow class-members.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Contact hours22Lectures (10 thematic lectures and one session to present wiki case studies).
Contact hours11Tutorials– Introductory session explaining syllabus and assessment; afterwards consolidation of learning from lectures, Q&A, assessment advice and formative feedback

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Feedback on video presentation15 minutes10Verbal and written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written Paper502500 words1-6, 7-8Written feedback
Group video presentation50Group project presentation and separate videoed and handed in on memory stick1-9Written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written PaperSame as original 50%1-6, 7-8July
Group video presentationIndividual Prezzi presentation1-9July

Syllabus plan

  • Moving goal posts?  The changing nature of major events in the global sport industry.
  • ‘Show me the money’: business models and revenue streams from events
  • What’s the story?  New media and the communication of event messages
  • Sponsorship in action:  exploring issues of activation, rights and benefits
  • More than just the game:  the changing nature of event spaces and their management
  • ‘Sponsorship in the city’:  principles and practices in bidding for sport events
  • The greatest shows on earth: leveraging the World Cup and Olympics as mega events
  • A game of two-halves:  long-term commercialization strategies (Rugby World Cup)
  • In the public good?  Examining the economic impacts of major events
  • Just win?  Security and ethics in the business of events

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Covell, D. and Walker, S. (2013) Managing Sport Organisations.  Oxford:  Butterworth-Heinemann.

Mallen, C. and Adams, L. (2013) Event Management in Sport, Recreation and Tourism: Theoretical and Practical Dimensions.  London: Routledge.

Journal Article Reading and Other Further Reading

This module is also designed to be informed by cutting-edge research literature in peer-reviewed journals.  Among the articles of relevance would be: 

Daniels, M.J. et al (2004) ‘Estimating income effects of a sports tourism event.’ Annals of Tourism Research, 31(1):  180-199.

Emery, P.  (2002) ‘Bidding to host a major sports event: the local organising committee perspective’, International Journal of Public Sector Management, 15(4):  316-335.

Essex, S. and Chalkley, B.  (2004) ‘Mega-sporting events in urban and regional policy: a history of the Winter Olympics’, Planning Perspectives, 19:  201-232.

Gibson, H. et al (2003) ‘Small-scale event sport tourism: fans as tourists.’ Tourism Management, 24:  181-190.

Gursoy, D. and Kendall, K.W.  (2006) ‘Hosting mega events: modeling locals’ support’, Annals of Tourism Research, 35(3): 603-623.

Gursoy, D. et al (2004) ‘Perceived impacts of festivals and special events by organizers: an extension and validation’, Tourism Management, 25: 171-181.

Jones, C.  (2001) ‘Mega-events and host-region impacts: determining the true worth of the 1999 Rugby World Cup.’ International Journal of Tourism Research, 3:  241-251.

Jones, C.  (2005) ‘Major events, networks and regional development’, Regional Studies, 39(2): 185-195.

Lee, C-K. and Taylor, T.  (2005) ‘Critical reflections on the economic impact assessment of a mega-event: the case of 2002 FIFA World Cup’, Tourism Management, 26: 595-603.

Madden, J.R.  (2002) ‘The economic consequences of the Sydney Olympics:  the CREA/Arthur Andersen study.’ Current Issues in Tourism, 5(1):  7-21

O’Brien, D.  (2006) ‘Event business leveraging:  the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.’ Annals of Tourism Research, 33(1): 240-261.

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