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Title: Legitimating London 2012 : urban mega-events and the geography of Olympic place marketing
Author: Bai, X.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5362 225X
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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This dissertation investigates the place marketing aspect of the London 2012 Olympic Games and the complexity of different geographies and interest groups surrounding such urban mega-events with theories on different levels of abstraction. Adopting the hegemonic political and economic theories of Neoliberalism on the general and macro level, and the more specific theories of place marketing on the micro level, this research argues that place marketing is one of the neoliberal imaginaries used to legitimate neoliberal practices, such as Olympic land acquisition. The author connects the abstract theories of Neoliberalism and the concrete theories of place marketing with Sklair’s Transnational Capitalist Class (2001) theory which suggests the formation of globally mobile elites who with their highly mobile capital have become very influential in the staging of urban mega-events and mega projects. In the particular case of the Olympic Games, some of these mobile capitalists have been very active in providing official sponsorship in exchange of exclusive marketing rights to associate their brands with the Olympics. Based on reviews of major Olympic-related official documents, a news survey on national, city and local newspapers and 31 elite interviews covering official place marketers of London, local governments, regional governmental bodies, Olympic Delivery Authority, official Olympic sponsors, small business owners and NGOs, this study points out the conflict of interests between place marketers and product marketers at the junction of urban mega-events. Understanding London’s top world city status and taking into account the desire to host the Olympic Games for a third time in response to fierce inter-city competition, this research indicates how place marketing is in theory a development strategy but in practice a difficult task due to the financial dilemmas and legal issues faced by neoliberalised governments. Legislations passed and contracts signed specifically for the Olympic Games have provided priorities and exclusive rights to official sponsors who are the product marketers in this case over place marketers. This thesis explores the complex legal issues surrounding Olympic place marketing which has a distinct but limited literature, and how localities on different geographical levels are affected by such legal arrangements.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available