Volunteers and mega sporting events : developing a research framework

Baum, T.G. and Lockstone, Leonie (2007) Volunteers and mega sporting events : developing a research framework. International Journal of Event Management Research, 3 (1). pp. 29-41.

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Interest in all aspects of the politics, financing, planning, management and operation of mega sporting events has been highlighted both by success stories and ongoing problems associated with Olympic Games, Football World Cups and other similar events. There is a growing literature that addresses these and related matters through both case history and comparative analyses. Within the context of mega sporting events, the issue of employment creation is an important motivator for host cities and features high on the political justification agenda for bids to host events. At the same time, the most significant working contribution to major mega events in sports, as in other areas, is provided by the very large numbers of volunteers who undertake tasks across the range of opportunities afforded by such events. Numbers of volunteers between 40,000 and 60,000 have been noted for some recent major events. Relatively little is known about these volunteers at mega sporting events and yet their contribution and wider impact is very significant, both to the events themselves and within the host community. This paper seeks to identify the evident gaps that exist in understanding areas such as what volunteers do at mega sporting events; who they are; what motivates them; how volunteering impacts upon their lives; what associated activities they do surrounding the event in the host city; and the extent to which volunteering is recidivistic. The paper concludes with the presentation of a tentative research framework agenda in order to guide future study of this important area.