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An analysis of the development of the policy-making process in relation to bidding for large scale sports events in the UK

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posted on 10.09.2014, 13:29 authored by Paul J. Salisbury
There is a growing field of literature concerning the staging, management and planning for large scale sports events; the evaluation of these events and the reasons why nations, but more recently cities, attempt to host these events, but few studies have attempted to provide a theoretically informed analysis of the processes by which these decisions are made. This study builds upon those existing studies in this area which outlined a method for exploring decisions to host, but furthers the analysis through the consideration of policy models, most notably the Multiple Streams Framework (Kingdon, 1984), in order to provide a sophisticated understanding of how such policy decisions are taken at the local level. Within the context of a critical realist epistemology, case studies of three United Kingdom bids (Sheffield s bid for the 1991 Universiade; Manchester s bid for the 2000 Olympic Games and Glasgow s bid for the 2014 Commonwealth Games) were undertaken. Content analysis of documents, triangulated with semi-structured interviews with the majority of key actors involved in, and excluded from, the processes were carried out in order for geographical, methodological and theoretical triangulation to be undertaken. The three bids were selected from across a twenty year period in order to test the hypothesis that the decision-making process for events would had become more and centrally-led over time. The results indicate that, while no analytical framework provides a perfect fit , the Multiple Streams Framework and its focus on policy entrepreneurialism is highly useful in explaining the elevation of these events onto local political agendas. Despite the increased centralisation of United Kingdom sport policy, local/regional actors were able to operate with surprising freedom and take advantage of apparent coincidences in order to achieve their objectives. The wider implications of these results include providing a stimulus for researchers to build upon the limited body of literature that applies policy theory to sports policy issues and also to stimulate research in the international context.





  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


© Paul Salisbury

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at:

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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