City Marketing Using Sport Events: The Case of Pontevedra and Two Editions of the Spanish Swimming Master Championship

City Marketing Using Sport Events: The Case of Pontevedra and Two Editions of the Spanish Swimming Master Championship

Ángel Barajas (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russia), Patricio Sanchez-Fernandez (University of Vigo, Spain) and Jesyca Salgado Barandela (University of Vigo, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7617-4.ch004
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Sport events have become a key element in revitalizing tourism and a valuable instrument for city marketing managers. This is true not only for mega-events but also for medium and small-size events. This chapter focuses on two editions of the same sport event as an example of how it can be used for these purposes. The authors have chosen the Spanish Swimming Master Championship celebrated in the city of Pontevedra in 2011 and 2015. The choice of the city is justified by its concern about celebration of sport events during the last decade as a means of promoting the city and increasing tourism.
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The relationship between sport and tourism has been amply shown by the literature and seems unquestionable (Buning & Gibson, 2015; Hinch & Higham, 2011; Sato, Gibson, Todd & Harada, 2018). According to González, Marreño and Santana (2010), sport and physical activity have long been considered key motives for travel and tourism.

Tourist destinations tend to build their offering with a particular focus on tourist behavior and what tourist is looking for (Cohen, Prayag & Moital, 2013). Thus, sport tourism development is a relevant strategy carried out by many tourism destinations. As Griffin and Hayllar (2007) state, the aims of such a strategy are manifold: product differentiation, enhancement of competitive advantages and promotion of socio-economic development. In that sense, some studies analyze the preferences of sporting tourist and identify different typologies in order to develop more efficient strategies in sporting marketing. In that line, Fotiadis, Vassiliadis and Sotiriadis (2016) analyze the preferences of participants in small cycling events. From his part, Hungenberga, Grayb, Gouldb and Stotlarb (2016) segment the participants in the 2014 GoPro Mountain Games in Colorado. The authors in the two works, study active sports tourists and they explain that the results of their studies allow a better adaptation of the event to the clients, improving their satisfaction and increasing the odds of loyalty to the event. According to this, sport events are increasingly used in the marketing of cities (Green, 2002). Cities have justified the use of sport events as a component of their marketing mix on the basis of their power to attract visitors and increase exposure of the city. Such events give an opportunity to promote destination and represent an occasion to build, enhance or reposition the host destination image (Kaplanidou & Vogt, 2007).

According to Sorrentino (2013), it is possible to consider positive effects both in short-run and in long-run. In short-run perspective, sport tourists can create value added through their expenditures and the indirectly induced increases in value. On the other hand, in the long-run, they can improve an important benefit generating free publicity for destination if they are satisfied from their tourist experience.

Therefore tourist satisfaction appeals as a key factor when considering this strategy in order to contribute to the overall marketing of the destination by helping to create or maintain an image for a destination. As Chen, Lin and Cheng (2011) point out sport events verify the relationships among the variables of the participants' background, the attractiveness of local sport tourism, participation motives, satisfaction, and loyalty. In the same line, Buning and Gibson (2015) remark that sport tourism is linked naturally to some features as social interaction, identity, mental and physical health, economic and touristic development. Thus, sport events have been used by cities as tools that are beyond mere tourism products to generate additional visits to a destination. Indeed, they can yield extraordinarily high levels of tourism, media coverage, prestige, or economic impact for the host community or destination (Getz, 2012). Sport event tourism is recognized as a desirable niche market and many cities along the world have established sport commissions to promote this special tourism. The great demand for this kind of tourism has become an essential element for many regions being a relevant part of their socio-economic development (Wäsche & Woll, 2010).

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