Publication Details

Dunn, K. M. & McGuirk, P. M. (1999). Hallmark events. In R. Cashman & A. Hughes (Eds.), Staging the Olympics: The Event and its Impact (pp. 18-32). Sydney, Australia: UNSW Press.


The modern Olympic Games have always been an international event: a celebration of sporting competition between athletes from many nations. In an era marked by the quickening pace of global integration of the world's economic and cultural systems, the Olympics can also be thought of as a globalised 'hallmark event'. Certainly, the Games have economic, cultural and political dimensions that mirror the various processes of globalisation. The impacts of the Games on its host city are similar to the impacts of globalisation processes. In this chapter we discuss the analogies between the Olympics, as a hallmark event, and the local impacts of economic globalisation. We position the Olympics business - not the sporting aspects, but the bidding and development processes - as an example of economic globalisation. By extension, the responses of localities and local authorities to the impacts of globalisation might be expected to be the same as for an Olympic event. Lessons on how a local community can best capitalise on an Olympic event might be derived, therefore, from examining the broader case of economic globalisation and its impact upon localities. We begin by sketching the major impacts of economic globalisation upon localities, with particular attention to the institutional changes that are commonly associated with localities' efforts to adjust to global economic integration.