What Makes an Event a Mega-Event? Definitions and Sizes

Leisure Studies doi.org/10.1080/02614367.2014.993333

16 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2014 Last revised: 26 Mar 2015

Martin Müller

University of Zurich

Date Written: October 1, 2014


There is considerable ambiguity about what makes an event a mega-event. Intervening in this debate, this paper develops a definition and classification scheme for mega-events. On the basis of a review of existing definitions, it proposes four constitutive dimensions of mega-events: visitor attractiveness, mediated reach, costs and transformative impact. The paper develops indicators for each dimension and maps onto these four dimensions a sample of the latest editions of nine large events: Expo, Summer and Winter Olympics, Football World Cup, European Football Championship, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, Pan American Games, Universiade. From this, it develops a multi-dimensional, point-based classification scheme of large events according to size, distinguishing between major events, mega-events and the recently emerging class of giga-events. Concluding, it identifies the need for more systematic data on the size, costs and impacts of a broad range of large-scale events over time.

Keywords: mega-events; giga-events; hallmark events; size; impact; Olympic Games; World Cup

Suggested Citation

Müller, Martin, What Makes an Event a Mega-Event? Definitions and Sizes (October 1, 2014). Leisure Studies doi.org/10.1080/02614367.2014.993333. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2462539 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2462539

Martin Müller (Contact Author)

University of Zurich ( email )

Winterthurerstr. 190
Department of Geography
Zürich, 8057

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