The influence of media themes on interest in the Olympic games and the host city: a comparative study of Koreans and Americans.
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Globally, competition for hosting the Olympic has become fierce. The social and economic advantages resulting from hosting the Olympic Games are huge, but the cost is also formidable. In particular, Sochi, where the 2014 Winter Olympic Games will be held, invested over $50 billion in building the stadium facilities and developing Sochi and the surrounding area as modernized systems. These Olympic facilities have the potential to attract visitors both during and after the Olympic Games. Prior literature suggests that sport tourism is emerging as a prominent component of many economic development plans (Kotler, Haider and Rein 1993) and the market’s expanding opportunities in tourism and sport businesses suggest the need for studies of sport tourism (Glyptis 1991). Earlier research has verified story impact as a fundamental communication tool and analyzed narrative contents. Past sport research suggests that American Olympic naaratives focus on specific themes. Given the literature, this study examines whether story theme preferences between the Korean and the American are different with cultural difference because some researcher indicates such cultural differences can influence communication behaviors. This research examined the impact of story themes on interest in host city and host nation for Korean and American students. The study employed an experimental survey and designed 3 themed Korean stories and American stories (hero, facility, and non-theme) based on actual news articles for the experiment. The experiment results showed that the Korean and the American students have statistically significant differences in all of the dependent variables. Overall, compared to American students, Korean students had higher interest in watching and attending the Winter Olympics as well as visiting the host city. Korean students also had positive intention to watch, to attend the Winter Olympics, and to visit the host city than the American students. With regard to the findings, the differenct approaches need to be developed between two nations. Cultural differences found in this study would affect the host city’s promotional efforts.