Innovation in Sporting Events Design: A Critical and Theoretical Examination
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Events are frequent and significant phenomena in contemporary society and academics have worked for some decades to try to better understand them. So far, event studies have investigated a variety of areas, of which event design is a significant one. Getz (2007) defined event design as the creation and development of event principles, and the implementation of event themes using particular techniques. For events to be successful, innovation is fundamental. Even though innovation has been identified as one of the most important factors in event design, little research on this topic has been undertaken. This research aims to provide a critical and theoretical examination of innovations in event design, with a particular focus on sporting events. This study belongs to the category of conceptual research, which absorbs insights primarily from previous research findings, and therefore does not require the use of primary data. In terms of a research philosophy, the interpretivist paradigm is adopted, along with a social constructionist epistemology, to encourage the researcher’s imagination and creativity in contributing to knowledge building. The three research processes of a scoping study, meta-synthesis, and systematic concept analysis, are also adopted. The research results suggest that innovations in mega sporting events design are closely related to the innovative design of event spaces. Three particular space settings are identified: (1) mega-event liminal zones; (2) public viewing spaces; and (3) virtual spaces created via media platforms. Parallel comparisons of the innovative practices within the three space settings are conducted, with findings mapped into a conceptual model – revealing critical factors in sporting events design and noting the complexities inherent in the processes of innovation. The research results provide both practical and theoretical implications for the field.