This paper examines the role that the pursuit of hallmark events and of major league sports franchises has played in the growth strategies of western Canadian cities. Literature on civic boosterism illustrates the vigorous competition that developed among regional elites to establish their own cities as perceived growth centers. These competitions are sharpened today by the contemporary mobility of capital, by media/information networks that focus unprecedented attention on “world-class” events, and by the growth of event-related tourism. The predictions of the benefits from investment in sports and tourism are typically optimistic, and gloss over significant differences of interest between local elites and others who are less likely to benefit.
David Whitson is with the Departments of Physical Education and Sports Studies/Canadian Studies, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T2N 1N4. Donald Macintosh is with the School of Physical and Health Education, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada K7L 3N6.