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Marketing in the Olympic Games

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The Olympic Games 2008 offers China a unique opportunity to showcase itself in the eyes of the world. There has been a positive impact on tourism in China in the past few years of preparation for the Games, and it appears likely that the city of Beijing and China may continue to enjoy the benefits of tourist activity even after the Games have been concluded. Applying the 7Ps marketing approach, Beijing has also been promoting itself in terms of the additional elements identified under this model in the marketing of the Games. In July of 2001, Beijing was awarded the hosting of the 2008 Olympic Games and the city erupted into celebrations, with 200,000 people jamming Tiananmen Square (BBC News, 2001). The Games are a world-renowned sporting event held once every four years, as a result of which they are referred to as the Olympiad Games. However, the Games are not merely a sporting event. they also have a humanitarian purpose as defined in its goal to place everywhere sport at the service of the harmonious development of mankind, with a view to encouraging the establishment of a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity. The Olympics aims to contribute towards the building of a better and more peaceful world and especially to inspire youth by encouraging athletes to compete in a spirit of fairness and cooperation without discrimination in a spirit of friendship. Since the decision to award Beijing the 2008 Olympics was also welcomed by its rival Taiwan, there is hope for the fostering of the Olympic spirit of fairness, friendship and peace among the two countries. During its earlier years, there were fewer countries participating in the Games and usually, one city came forward to host the Olympics. However, with the advent of television, there has been a significant change in sporting culture and with increasing participation in the Games coupled with increased media coverage, sporting events have become more and more spectacular, as they compete for the consumer dollar (Nauright, 2004). There are now more developing countries competing for the hosting of the Games and the process of bidding itself has become expensive because each contending city is required to deposit a $100,000 application fee just for the privilege of bidding for the hosting of the Games. For the 2010 Games out of the right cities which applied, the four that were shortlisted were required to submit an additional fee of $500,000 as a part of the selection procedure The Olympic Games are an important event from the marketing point of view because the revenue derived from television, sponsorship, and fundraising help to provide the movement with its financial independence. (Brown, 2000:74). Cities over the world compete for the privilege of hosting the games because it is believed that being the focus of the international community through the execution of such a major sporting event is likely to be tremendous economic gains to the city in question. Hosting the Games is also expected to bring in long-term benefits, such as the productivity gained through the improved transport infrastructure and intangible benefits such as boosting a city’s reputation. (Bayliss et al, 2004). Since the Games are not a tangible product as such but are equivalent to a service, the additional elements that must be taken into consideration are the people, processes and physical evidence involved in the marketing effort.