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The Impact of Mega-Sporting Events on Host Country Image and Brand Perception: A Case of 2011 Daegu IAAF Championships

Yongjae Kim (Kutztown University of Pennsylvania)  

Abstract: Over the last several decades, many countries have dedicated their efforts to take advantage of hosting mega-sport events. Hosting such events is known to bring a variety of potential benefits to the host country. Matos (2006) describes three main benefits of mega-events: image promotion, infrastructure development, and economic growth. However, little empirical research has been conducted to explore the benefits of mega-sport events on country image improvement. Especially, there has been no research on how the host country image influences consumer’s perceptions about brands originated from the country (called as country of origin effects). Accordingly, this study developed and tested a theoretical model delineating the relationship between consumers’ event involvement, host country images, and brand attitudes; and examined if the model has the same pattern across amount of information about a host country (high and Low).  For the purpose of this study, it is necessary to examine change of the host country images among people in other countries. Using convenience sampling method, data (n = 698) collected from five different cities in the United States before and after the 2011 IAAF championships. The results of a series of structural equation modeling tests revealed the positive impact of event involvement on host country images, which lead to positive brand attitudes and brand purchase intention. Effects of event involvement on country images were evident in high information amount group, but not in low information amount group. The findings provide practical and managerial implications. Event organizers should make efforts to create consumer interests in the event and promote it to enhance host country images in other countries.