The impact of the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix on the socioeconomic development of local small and medium-sized enterprises


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Liang, Xiao ORCID: (2022). The impact of the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix on the socioeconomic development of local small and medium-sized enterprises. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Although the impact of major sporting events has been well documented, it is largely based on empirical studies of one-off events and their impacts on host cities’ broad development (e.g., economic and tourism impact, and social impacts). We know little on the impact of periodic major sporting events (e.g., the F1), and more specifically their impacts on the development of local businesses - particular the group of small and medium-sizes enterprises (SMEs) - remains scant. Therefore, this research contributes to address these research gaps by exploring the impact of a periodic major sporting event-the Formula one Grand Prix (F1) on local SMEs socioeconomic development in an Asian context-Shanghai.

Through the lens of critical realism and guided by theory of change and contribution analysis, this study adopts a mixed-methods approach that incorporates evidence gathered from document analysis, surveys with Shanghai SMEs managers (n = 188) and interviews with policy makers (n = 9) as well as a follow up sample of those surveyed SME managers (n = 10). The study finds that there is a moderate effect of the Shanghai F1 on local SMEs’ development evidenced both on the economic and social aspects. Sports and Automobile SMEs are the key beneficiary groups, comparing to other groups of SMEs (e.g., financial and educational SMEs) and reported growths in turnover and profits, improved corporate image and brand image and increased opportunities for cooperating with other sectors as a result of the Shanghai hosting of F1. The study also identifies clear causal mechanisms underlying the impact pathways and explains how the identified impacts are attributable to the Shanghai F1. The positive factors, barriers and success criteria are also acknowledged to contribute, impede and evaluate the achievement of the intended outcome/impact chains.

This study provides empirical evidence of event impact on local SMEs development, and is valuable to other cities who are also interested in utilising the major sporting events local businesses and SMEs development. The combination of both theory of change and contribution analysis used in this study is one of its key advantages and enhances the rigour and robustness of impact assessment, hence is advised to be used in future government-led sports programme evaluations. Key points identified in this study, in terms of what should have been done in order to maximise the impact of the F1 on SMEs development are useful for policy makers to plan and organise their major sporting events strategically, and to provide support local SMEs for their engagement with the event.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)


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