London 2012 Olympics: friend or foe?

Next year sees the start of the London 2012 Olympics, but what is the true cost of the Games?

With less than a year to go to the start of the Summer Olympic Games in London, many politicians, events industry experts and members of the general public are waiting with bated breath to see how successfully the Olympics will be delivered and at what true cost. The use of such a mega event, attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists to a city for a specific purpose, has become a popular tool in developing both the sporting interests of the host country, together with major infrastructural changes to local accommodation, transport and entertainment facilities.

The initial budget allocated to the London Olympic Games comprised of £6 billion, generated through a combination of public and private sources. Now exceeding £13 billion and with the Games yet to take place, many concerned views are being expressed that this event may not deliver a true return on investment for this huge sum, and that in a period of sustained economic decline, other nationwide projects could have benefited more from such spend for the greater good 
of the country.

Olympic runner

“It is this practical experience which is so highly regarded by students and employers alike”

Looking back at previous Summer Games, several key examples exist of cities that have gained much from hosting the event, namely Barcelona in 1992 and Sydney in 2000. The question remains, however, whether London 2012 will be added to this list and offer the country a timely and much needed boost, both socially and financially, or whether it may become one of the most expensive mistakes 
in modern Olympic history.

Sporting events, including the Olympics, is 
only one area of the international events industry covered during events management degrees, such as the three and a half year BA (Hons) International Events Management degree offered at the European Business School London. Degrees such as this have quickly grown in popularity, attracting a wide variety of international students from many different backgrounds. During these degrees, students usually study a range of business management modules including accountancy, economics, HR and law, and have the opportunity to focus their studies around the international events industry, destination development, the wide ranging nature of events and their marketing strategies.

Working in the events industry can be seen 
as a glamorous profession; attending high-profile award ceremonies, dinners and parties. Whilst this may be true for some, students quickly learn that in order to host such events, many months of detailed planning, organisation and marketing are required to make the event a success. During an events management degree, students develop and define the necessary skills for event management at an early stage, and some offer the opportunity to work on a variety of live events at the institution. It is this practical experience which is so highly regarded by students and employers alike.

Some institutions, such as the European Business School London, require students to complete a period of work experience whilst studying for the degree, in order to combine both academic and practical experiences. This may be developed from volunteer opportunities available through the institution, external events with local, national and international organisations and charities, and so on.

With in-depth academic study, practical industry experiences and an international focus, international events management degrees offer students an established 
path into the global events industry, 
whether corporate, charity, fashion or sporting related.

Written by Andrew Kirby (2011)
Lecturer, Events Management
European Business School London (UK)