The understanding of ritual function in a society as a community builder was a ground idea for theories of communication and sport. According to Real (2013), through embedded structures and values, rituals, such as sport events, have the ability to make people feel connected. For instance, in international competitions, like the Olympic Games, although the outcomes are individually situated, by a team or a player, what matters is who they represent, the victory credit is given to a whole nation, to a community; the outcome is expressed communally (p. 35). This positive feeling about the event, of totality and integration, can be rewarding to the event’s reputation and acceptance by the host community. That been said, it becomes important to enhance this idea and get active support from locals.
According to Gursoy and Kendall (2006), the host community has the power to bring positive influence to a mega sporting event, just as to bring negative influence and active opposition, which it may lead to delays, legal action, and abandonment of projects.
“Even though hosting a mega-event, such as the Summer Olympic Games, requires a considerable investment of human, financial and physical resources from the communities (Gursoy & Kendall 2006), communities still compete against each other to host those mega-events because of the expected benefits for the community and local businesses. As suggested by Gursoy & Kendall (2006), mega sporting events tend to have long-term positive consequences for the cities and communities that stage them” (Gursoy et al., 2011).
Usually, mega-events organizers seek the locals’ acceptance proclaiming financial and infra-structural benefits to its community. “Exchange theory posits that individuals seek return for that which they give. Social exchange theory is a way of explaining choice behavior in a social setting” (Ledingham, 2001, p. 286). So “residents are likely to support mega events as long as they believe the expected benefits of development will exceed the expected costs” (Gursoy & Kendall, 2006, p. 208).
In conclusion to the exchange theory, it becomes important, through a planned communication, and consequently, a relationship with the locals, to make sure they believe hosting the mega sporting event is going to bring positive outcome to their lives.
Ensuring the host community’s vote of confidence is a hard task, particularly now that is a known fact from historical analysis, those financial benefits are rarely achieved. Mills and Rosentraub (2013) state independent analysts have found four major errors that cause overestimation of the economic benefits: (1) the tourism increment may be minimal or non-existent if the host city is a popular tourism destination even in the absence of the mega-event; this happens because just as the mega-event attracts some tourists, it may divert tourists wanting to avoid crowds and higher prices; (2) project reports usually states values of gross instead of net sales, which is unrealistic since most of what is bought is imported for resale; (3) temporary workers who had dislocated to the host city will take their earnings back to their home area, so their consume can’t be accounted for the host community benefit; and (4) people from the same region as the host community who attended and spent money at the mega-event’s activities would have spent a similar amount in other forms of local entertainment if there was no mega-event nearby, so those expenditures don’t produce new economic benefit to the region (p. 238-239).
One way of working on the locals’ support is getting their involvement in the planning process. That “may enable them to form more accurate perceptions of the benefits and costs of hosting mega-events without losing their support for the event” (Gursoy et al., 2011, p. 319)