Over the years, Norway has hosted a number of sports events, and the list gives an overview of events in the most popular sports.
- The Winter Olympics in Lillehammer (1994) and in Oslo (1952)
- The FIS World Skiing Championships (1966, 1982, 1997 and 2011)
- The FIS World Ski-flying Championship (1977, 1990, 2000, 2012)
- The IBU World Biathlon Championship in Biathlon (1986, 1990, 2000 and 2002)
- The IHF World Handball Championship (1993 and 1999 joint with Denmark, both female)
- The EHF European Handball Championship (2008 (male), and 2010 (female) joint with Denmark)
- The IIHF Ice-Hockey World Championship (1999)
- The UCI World Cycling Championship (1993)
- The ISU World Skating Championship (1989, 1993, 1999, 2004, 2009, 2013)
Additionally, several cities spent efforts on applying for the Winter Olympics in 2014 and 2018. Together with the other Nordic countries, Norway applied for the 2008 UEFA Championship football championship for national teams, and some years later the Norwegian and Swedish football associations prepared to apply for the 2016 Championship.
However, neither of these plans materialized due to reasons mentioned above.
The last efforts started in 2012, when the city council of Oslo and the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports (NIF) together decided to apply for the 2022 Winter Olympics. In a referendum from September 2013, the majority of local residents (55%) supported the application. As mentioned above, the IOC elected Oslo as a candidate city in June 2014.
Two months later, however, the application was withdrawn when the national government rejected to give the necessary financial guarantee.
All these experiences, both as host and applicant have made Norwegians familiar with the events. Therefore, the respondents should have the necessary background to meaningfully answer the questions in the survey.
The data were collected by Norfakta Markedsanalyse AS (a Norwegian research marketing company).
They have about 150 interviewers, and data collection by telephone interviews is one of their specialties. A total of 16,161 phone calls were conducted. Of these, 7129 did not pick up the phone, while 3242 rejected to be interviewed. The rest of the no-reply sample was due to other reasons, such as for example that the line was busy, the telephone answering machine and so on.
The first section of the questionnaire concentrated on the 2011 World Skiing Championship, Nordic Games in Oslo. Independent of this, the respondents were also asked to imagine that Norway considered applying for the Winter Olympics, UEFA’s European Championship for the national team (male) and once again the FIS World Skiing Championship, Nordic Games. They were asked to consider the events independent of each other and not to rank them.
The questions focusing on the attitudes and motives for watching sports were inspired by the literature on sports demand, see Wann, (1997) and Wann, Melnick, Russel & Pease, (2001). This involved variables such as group association, self-esteem and affective dimension. Additionally, we also investigated whether expectations of economic gains and political opinions influenced the attitudes.
The interviews were conducted at the end of June 2011 in the four regions presented below. The sample consists of 980 respondents, of which 245 respondents from each region.
- Oslo region (includes the city of Oslo and Akershus County)
- Bergen region (includes the city of Bergen and Hordaland County)
- Trøndelag (including both the Sør- and Nord-Trøndelag Counties)
- Northern Norway (includes municipals from the city of Narvik and further north)
We selected regions that had different experiences with major sports events. Oslo hosted the World Skiing Championship in 1966, 1982 and 2011. Additionally, they have also hosted World Championships in biathlon, speed skating and ice hockey (joint hosting), as well as a number of World Cup competitions in both skiing and biathlon. Therefore, local residents should be very familiar with such events.
Trondheim, the capital of Trøndelag, hosted the 1997 World Skiing Championship, but has also hosted several World Cup competitions in cross-country skiing, ski jumping and biathlon.
This was different in the Bergen region and Northern Norway, of which neither have any experiences with hosting such events. Tromsø, the “capital” of the Northern region, has twice tried to apply for the Winter Olympics, first in 2014 and later in 2018. However, due to lack of financial support from the government, the plans never materialized. Bergen, which is Norway’s second largest city, has yet to host any major sports events.
The major reason is that Norway mainly has concentrated on winter sports, which are sports that do not fit with the climate in Bergen. In September 2014, however, Bergen was awarded the hostess of the 2017 ICU World Cycling Championship.
These differences in experiences made it interesting to investigate for regional differences in attitudes. In such surveys, there is a risk that the respondents will answer strategically if they expect that the answers can influence the decisions of politicians. However, that the questionnaire not indicated where the events would be hosted should eliminate the motives of answering strategically.
Additionally, gender, income and education were also included as control variables. The next section will present the results from the empirical surveys