Strategic thinking and planning behind the development of a sporting event portfolio: the case of Shanghai

Xiao Liang, Shushu Chen, Dongfeng Liu, Ian Boardley, Liang Shen

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Recent developments regarding event portfolios have renewed research interest in the management and leveraging of sporting events. This study contributes to the topic by examining the purpose of sporting event portfolios and the process of their strategic planning in an Asian context—Shanghai. Guided by strategic planning theories, this paper explores how Shanghai’s sporting event portfolio was developed and why. Empirically, the study draws on extensive data, specifically, policy and strategy documents and interviews with key sport policymakers and sport experts in Shanghai. The results suggest that Shanghai’s event portfolio benefited from more than 20 years’ careful planning and development. Twelve commercial sporting events were carefully handpicked and cultivated to promote destination branding, to advance Shanghai’s reputation as a global city, and to serve other social and economic development agendas. The role of the portfolio in offering a competitive edge over other world-class cities was also noted. This study offers some important insights for other cities’ planning of event portfolios to enhance city image and stimulate regional development.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSport Management Review
Early online date3 Nov 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Nov 2021


  • China
  • strategic planning
  • specialised event portfolio
  • major sporting events


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