How sports help to build the reputation of places
Nations, cities and regions over the world have several characteristics that make them unique and these characteristics, when combined, build the perception that we have about them. Lifestyle, culture, arts or sports are part of the identity of a place, and alongside other topics, help to establish the reputation of places.
Nowadays, sport events are an important tool to promote a place and therefore helping its social and economic development. When you watch your favorite sport, being played with a beautiful landscape in the background and promoting the culture of that place, your interest about that place will increase. Maybe in the future you will think of visiting it, or investing your money there, or even live there. This is how sports help to build the reputation of nations, cities and regions.
Mega events such as the Olympics or the World Cup present an unique opportunity for nations, cities and regions to get recognition at international level. If done strategically, it can be a tool to promote the identity of a place through its landscapes, culture, brands and even its people. This way, this place will improve its reputation and will attract more tourists, more investment, more people to live there and enjoy what it's unique about it. Even small sport events like regional cups or very niche specific sports like Cross Country Skiing can be a less expensive way to improve the reputation of a place.
For example, 2018 Winter Olympics in Peyongchang was part of a strategy to make South Korea the leader of winter sports in Asia, a region where these sports are underdeveloped. South Korean government had the goal of creating awareness about its winter sports facilities in the region of Gangwon, so they used the games as a tool to improve the reputation of this region. Before you would think about the Alps, or maybe Scandinavia, when booking the next ski holidays. Now, everybody knows that Peyongchang is also an option. After an investment of around $13 billion, South Korean tourism is expected to add $59,4 billion over the next decade.
In sum, sport events can be a great tool to increase awareness and improve the reputation of places. But if place leaders want it to work, they need to think strategically. They need to choose the right timing, like South Korean did by being the first asiatic nation developing winter sports, and they need to do it according to their own identity.