SBD/Issue 219/Olympics

On The Ground In Beijing: GWU Professor Lisa Delpy Neirotti

Neirotti Giving 28 College Students Behind-
The-Scenes Look At Beijing Olympics
Over the next few weeks, SportsBusiness Journal/SportsBusiness Daily will speak to various sports business execs who are on the ground for the Beijing Games to gain perspective and first-person accounts of this historically significant event. Today we focus on Lisa Delpy Neirotti, associate professor of tourism & sports management at George Washington Univ. Delpy Neirotti, who departed on a 13 1/2-hour flight from Dulles to Beijing last Monday, has been to 13 Olympics. This time around, she's leading a group of 28 students to the Games from August 4-24.
The students are enrolled in her "Behind the Scenes at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games." Before leaving for Beijing, they heard lectures on the business side of the Games, and once there will meet with various executives and groups. We caught up with Delpy Neirotti shortly before she left, and will get periodic updates while she's in Beijing.

Q: What will be your role in Beijing?

Delpy Neirotti: I will organize lectures with high-level executives associated with the Olympic Games, including IOC members and staff, corporate sponsors, BOCOG, international federations, media, athletes, volunteers and the U.S. Olympic Committee. I will also arrange behind-the-scene tours of the Olympic venues. We will also be collecting data from foreign visitors about their consumer behavior, motivations and perceptions of the Games.

Q: What are you most interested in while at the Games?

Delpy Neirotti: The overall management and marketing of the Games and comparing these Olympics to the previous 13 that I have attended. Of particular interest to me is how the Chinese will handle any crisis or negative event, media access and counterfeit merchandise.

Q: What's been the biggest area of preparation?

Delpy Neirotti: Dealing with the logistics of housing, speakers and tours. Also making sure students are well prepared both about the Olympics and Chinese culture.

Neirotti Says She Is Most Looking
Forward To Opening Ceremony
Q: The things you're looking forward to the most, and concerned about the most?

Delpy Neirotti: I'm really looking forward to attending the Opening Ceremony and witnessing the pride of the Chinese people, who have anxiously awaited these Games. My major concern is figuring out mass transit and how to get to all our meetings in a timely and safe fashion. As part of the learning experience our group travels by public transport, no private coach.

Q: What book are you bringing to Beijing to read?

Delpy Neirotti: Student term papers! The students had to turn in papers two-thirds complete prior to departure. The final paper is submitted upon return, incorporating information and observations gained on-site in Beijing and data results from spectator surveys. The papers cover all aspects of the management and marketing of the Games, ranging from economic impact, legacy and environment, to facilities, transportation and ticketing, to ambush marketing, new media and public educational campaigns.

Q: Before you leave, do you have any other thoughts?

Delpy Neirotti: Flexibility will be the key for these Games, as things seem to change daily. Student flights were just re-routed as a decision to close the airport during the Opening Ceremony was made. My students have an interesting flight -- going from DC to New York to Seoul, Korea, and then Beijing!

Do you have a question for Lisa? If so, e-mail

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