Experiencing Events Animating City Spaces Through Fan Zones


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Presentation delivered by David McGillivray at National Outdoor Events Association (NOEA) Convention, Derby, in February 2010

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  • This presentation was originally intended to incorporate Olympic Live Sites but due to lack of time it will focus most of its discussion on Fan Parks (Germany 06) and Fan Zones (Glasgow’s UEFA Cup Final 2007) as illustrations of the concept of pseudo events originally laid forth by Boorstin in 1961. I will touch on the context of Olympic Live Sites briefly, but they will not form the main focus of this particular presentation
  • First, I will locate the discussion of pseudo events as a means of thinking about how I see the role of manufactured fan zones/parks designed to welcome sporting fans to cities. I will then provide a context for the presentation, indicating why this topic is worthy of investigation in the first place. I will then briefly cover the methodological pre-occupations which govern the research undertaken on fan parks and fan zones, in particular. I will then lay out some ‘themes’ emerging for the data which give you a flavour of the role fan sites in promoting a particular discourse within cities and nations. To do this I will draw on examples, images and interview data from the 2006 World Cup in Germany and the 2007 UEFA Cup Final in Glasgow in 2007. I will also mention the Live Site context here. In the main body of the presentation I will develop an analysis of public space and its consumption which draws on urban geography, urban studies and leisure studies. Finally, I will conclude the presentation by looking forward to the further development of these pseudo events.
  • The key thing about fan parks is that they are by no means new – in fact Glasgow (the focus of this work claims to have been the first host of fan spaces for travelling sports fans (specifically soccer)in 2002 for the UEFA champions League Final – the Premier soccer tournament in Europe. However, in terms of a wider history, these sites were first established for a major tournament at the 2004 European Championships in Portugal. Their role was to alter internal and external perceptions of the nation (Merivoet). Since then these events have become more and more important and are now built into the Host Contract Agreement (HCA) for major League, European and World Soccer events.
  • The main reason for talking about pseudo-events is that it provides a lens for thinking about the specific nature of fan parks/zones. It is of course possible to suggest that all events are in some ways, pseudo – but I want to argue that it is the planned and manufactured nature of the fan zones/fan parks that make them interesting. They are designed to be amendable to media communication are often driven by place market agencies as a means to generate specific impressions of a city/nation. For this reason these parks, I will argue have commonalities with Boorstin’s ideas.
  • Play video 1-30 seconds – overview of event 6.14-07.10 – Joe Aitken and Espanyol Fan Zone 7.49-8.15 Colin Hartley talking of economic activity and approach to delivceery
  • Experiencing Events Animating City Spaces Through Fan Zones

    1. 1. Experiencing Events: Animating city spaces through Fan Zones Dr David McGillivray, Glasgow Caledonian University & Stewart Arthur, in absentia!
    2. 2. Workshop coverage <ul><li>Fan spaces: The context </li></ul><ul><li>Fan spaces as media/tourism events </li></ul><ul><li>Germany ‘06 – Key themes </li></ul><ul><li>Glasgow 2007 – Key themes </li></ul><ul><li>Glasgow 2007 - Behind the scenes </li></ul><ul><li>Future challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion, Q & A </li></ul>
    3. 3. Fan Spaces: The context <ul><li>2004 European Championships in Portugal first ‘pilot’ of Fan Park concept/Fan Embassies </li></ul><ul><li>2006 FIFA World Cup attracted 13 million visitors across 10 Fan Parks from Berlin to Munich </li></ul><ul><li>2008 UEFA European Championships in Austria/Switzerland hosted Fan Parks in each city </li></ul><ul><li>UEFA’s signature European soccer tournaments also on board </li></ul><ul><li>Inception of Champions League fan zones in Glasgow 2002 </li></ul><ul><li>UEFA Cup Final (2007), Glasgow, Scotland – ‘fan zones’ hosted in city centre </li></ul><ul><li>Now a central institutionalised contractual obligation with hosting sporting ‘mega’, ‘hallmark’ and ‘special’ events’ (HCA) </li></ul><ul><li>But – they bring with them their own ‘challenges’ in terms of event safety, branding, policy and PR </li></ul>
    4. 4. Fan spaces as media/tourism events <ul><li>These events contain the following characteristics: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They’re not spontaneous (despite wanting to look like this) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They are planned so as to be reported or disseminated easily ( media-friendly, part of destination branding strategy ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They require ‘local’ participation but are essentially for ‘global consumption – i.e. the focus of the lens is on securing ‘dramatic’ moments and iconic imagery: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The cameras were specifically selecting “action shots”, which showed a noisy, waving audience (Boorstin, 1961: 260) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. MTV Awards, Edinburgh </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They help to ‘animate’ inanimate urban spaces </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They are, increasingly, ‘commercial’ in their outcomes (e.g. brand value for ‘event sponsors’) </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Germany ‘06 Fan Parks: ‘Official’ spaces
    6. 6. Germany ‘06: Key themes <ul><li>Fan Parks at each of 10 host cities </li></ul><ul><li>Deliberate and intentional strategy to ‘welcome’ the world to Germany </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Overcoming national stereotypes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Symbolise their acceptance in the international community” (Allison & Monnington, 2002: 107) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Typically held outside of city centre business districts – in municipal spaces (e.g. Olympic Park, Munich) </li></ul><ul><li>Designed to manage ticketless ‘fans’ in a positive manner </li></ul><ul><li>Spaces designed to encourage i) a festival atmosphere and ii) consumption, guided by corporate sponsors and communicated ‘virally’ to the watching world </li></ul><ul><li>Extremely successful – the template for subsequent sporting events (e.g. 2008 European Championships, Beijing Olympics) </li></ul>
    7. 7. Glasgow 2007 UEFA Cup Final: Creating Carnival
    8. 8. Glasgow 2007: Glasgow Scotland with Style
    9. 9. Glasgow 2007: Key themes <ul><li>City Marketing Bureau (DMO) in lead role to reinforce brand identity – Glasgow: Scotland with Style </li></ul><ul><li>Cosying up to valuable sporting brands (UEFA) and sponsors (Carlsberg) to lever own brand aspirations </li></ul><ul><li>Locating ‘Fan Zones’ in city centre civic space (George Square) to exploit business potential and animate the city streets: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Colour, vibrancy, edgy – and valuable destination imagery guaranteed </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Fan Zones ‘managed spaces’ with control and containment a priority </li></ul><ul><li>But , securing city benefits within the strictures of Host Contract Agreements is possible: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Charles Rennie Macintosh brand; Glasgow: Scotland with Style logo; increased city centre revenue; return tourism visits </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Event owners (e.g. UEFA) policy priorities to include fan events as ancillary events become important supplementary brand vehicle </li></ul>
    10. 10. Glasgow 2007: Behind the scenes <ul><li>Security: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Major intelligence operation to anticipate potential public order problems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communications and intelligence gathering began in earnest between the police, UEFA Security, SFA Security and the security representatives from each team from Qtr Final onwards: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>3 levels of fan risk assessment (3= “will fight”; 2=“might fight”; 1= “won’t fight”) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scenario planning affected ‘approach’ to fan zones </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Contingency plan to segregate (within city centre) and/or locate fan parks in separate spaces (e.g. City parks) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Legislative requirements: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Special legislation to overcome: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>ban on drinking in public places (alcohol licence for two city centre fan zones) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>street traders (licenses suspended for the day if products conflicted with HCA) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>road closures (fan zones became pedestrian areas for day) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>use of designated bus lanes (relaxation of bus lanes to enable ease of transit to stadium) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Major PR campaign to raise awareness of Smoking Ban in public places (welcome leaflet key communications tool) </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Glasgow 2007: Behind the scenes (2) <ul><li>Local population </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Disruption to business operations and residents in surrounding area </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Establishment of business and residents liaison group </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Overall philosophy focused on ‘return’ to businesses in surrounding area </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Programme: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focused on visiting fans (not residents) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Previous experience (2002 Champions League Final) was of residents taking advantage of Drinking law relaxation - created public order problems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2007 strategy - directing business to local bars, restaurants as opposed to singular beneficiary (albeit sponsors had exclusivity within zones) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoided big screens as a focal point (potential capacity/crowd safety issues) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promoted free flow on fans between zones - the ideal outcome for all stakeholders </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Fan Spaces – future challenges <ul><li>Public order/public safety concerns (e.g. Manchester 08 and Vancouver 2010 ) </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural differences – Beijing Live Sites, South Africa 2010, Rio 2014 </li></ul><ul><li>Demand for access to spaces free of corporate sponsors: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cape Town SA2010 has three level of Fan Park: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1. The official FIFA fan park at the Grand Parade and the fan mile </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2. City fan parks in 3 main locations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3. Four smaller community viewing sites around the city </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Instantaneous communication landscape makes managing message more difficult, especially if authorities are unfamiliar with social media protocols (e.g. Twitter Olympics) </li></ul><ul><li>If you provide it they will come…. </li></ul>
    13. 13. Discussion topics <ul><li>As we approach the 2012 Olympic Games in London, what role will Live Sites play in ensuring a celebratory, animated ‘nation’ (as opposed to city) is created? </li></ul><ul><li>To what extent has the Manchester 2008 UEFA Cup Final experience led to a re-think in the way Fan Zones are managed (or is this just a ‘soccer’ issue)? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the UK regulatory environment work against the promotion of ‘spontaneous’ celebratory activities and is this an impediment to those responsible for promoting destinations? </li></ul><ul><li>In designing fan spaces like those discussed previously, which stakeholder group exerts the greatest power and influence over their location, form and management - and, are there tensions that impact on those of you with extensive experience of outdoor events? </li></ul>