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Nautical small-scale sports events portfolio: A strategic leveraging approach

Research question: This study analyzes the leverage process of a nautical small-scale sports events portfolio, hosted in a tourist community of Portugal. Strategic goals were identified and the implementation process examined, according to economic and social leveraging models. Since these models have lack of empirical research, their application to real contexts may improve their contribution to the development of the sports events’ strategic approach. Research methods: Fieldwork was conducted from February 2008 to June 2009. Direct observation of the events (6 days in average), document analysis (79 documents), and qualitative interviews were conducted (82 actors). Data were analyzed using the qualitative content analysis approach through the software – NVivo 9 by QSR International. Results and findings: Results showed a strategic approach emphasizing ‘enhancing the host’s destination image,’ while other categories of the models were not so evident. The use of a portfolio approach favored the construction of the nautical destination brand. Implications: Cross-leveraging processes, enhancing coordination efforts, and planning ancillary events are key factors to successfully leverage a portfolio of events.