Interpretative Flexibility of the Event‐City: Security, Branding and Urban Entrepreneurialism at the European Football Championships 2008


Sport mega‐events not only give rise to major economic and socio‐cultural opportunities for host cities and nations, but also arouse increased local, national and international security concerns. This article, which focuses on the European Football Championships 2008 in Austria and Switzerland (Euro 2008), seeks to link business and security issues associated with sport mega‐events. More specifically, it sets out to investigate the ‘interpretative flexibility’— for purposes of security, branding and urban entrepreneurialism — of two types of spatial enclosures, set up temporarily in the host cities of the Euro 2008: UEFA fan zones and stadium security rings. Emphasis will be placed on the building up and articulation of the successive layers of meaning of these zones through various mechanisms of institutional learning and policy transfer. The ‘making’ of fan zones and stadium security rings will hence be positioned within a complex field of agencies, driving forces and motivations in terms of business and security, including a range of international processes and stipulations, as well as diverse local and national predispositions and impulses.