John D Horne, Professor* - University of Central Lancashire
The apparent discrepancy between the successful outcomes of the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games staged in London in 2012 (hereafter the London Games) and the critical commentary from many scholars in the build up to them is the focus of this presentation.
It will be argued that the media contribute to the creation of a games time 'bubble' during which critical commentary is considerably sidelined as those with greater prestige and credibility are prioritized as primary definers of the 'reality' of the event. This contributes to the formation of a great contrast between the euphoria of the games time coverage and the skeptical tone adopted by most, although not all, scholarly studies of the mega-event.
In particular the presentation will analyze the kind of coverage the U.K. national, regional and local media - both print and broadcast - produced about Olympic legacy, sustainability and community at different stages of the build up to the London Games and during the sports mega-event itself.
The presentation will outline four challenges - consumption, construction, containment and communication - related to sports mega-events that future hosts need to address: the role this kind of mega-event plays in the spreading of capitalist consumer cultures; the costs and social appropriation of large facilities; the measures of surveillance and security; and the risks related to media coverage and exposure.