Mike is an Associate Professor and former Head of Department (Department Chair) at the University of Surrey, where he was the Director of the Observatory for Human Rights and Major Events — the UK’s official Olympic Studies Centre supported by the International Olympic Committee and TeamGB. In 2021, Mike became the Editor-in-Chief of Event Management, the leading peer reviewed journal for the study and analysis of events and festivals.

Mike is an international expert on the economics and social impacts of major sports events.

Over the last decade Mike has travelled the world examining human and community rights issues and the social and economic impact of hosting major events. This includes the Olympics, FIFA World Cup, Commonwealth Games, Glastonbury, Wimbledon to the Super Bowl, across London, Rio Janiero, Tokyo to the Gold Coast. This work has been published in internationally leading journals and funded by large- and small-scale grants from the European Union to the International Olympic Committee.

Committed to ‘real world’ impact, Mike has significant experience consulting senior governmental and non-governmental organisations, including major event owners themselves, on evaluating event impact and legacy with the aim of optimizing the power and potential of events for social and economic good. This includes working with global charity It’s a Penalty to deliver international educational campaigns to tackle human trafficking in major event cities throughout the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. His work has been featured in international media from Les Echoes to The Guardian and he has given interviews and debated live on TV, including ABC, BBC, LBC and in a one hour debate (May 2022) on Sky News.

Mike’s academic and consultancy work is split across two key areas: ‘Planning Perspectives’ and ‘Critical Perspectives’ and covers the following themes and concepts:

1) Planning perspectives

  •  Event analytics and 360 degree impact evaluation
  •  Event strategy, policy and planning 
  •  Event-led tourism and urban development
  •  Event-led destination marketing and development
  •  Community and small business leveraging
  •  Understanding visitor behaviour and experience in event destinations
  •  Utilising new technologies and big data for event planning.

2) Critical perspectives

  •  Human and community rights in the context of planning, staging and the legacy of major events
  •  Local impacts of event-led urban development and regeneration projects
  •  Leveraging events as a platform for educating visitors and raising awareness about critical issues (e.g. human exploitation, trafficking etc). 

Mike holds various editorial positions. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Event Management; former Deputy Editor for Annals of Leisure Research; and currently sits on the Editorial Boards of Leisure Studies and International Journal of Festival and Event Management. He also sits on the Editorial Board and is the founding Social Media Editor with Prof Sara Dolnicar and Prof Scott McCabe for both Annals of Tourism Research, and, Annals of Tourism Research Empirical Insights (@AnnTourRes).

During COVID-19 lockdown, Mike hosted a new international podcast entitled: ‘Inside Events’ – speaking with authors of high quality research papers and projects in the field of events to discuss the detail and significance of their work, as well as how they tackle and answer some of the big issues facing events today. The podcast delves into real-world research problems, the “so what” factor, theoretical quandaries, philosophical questions, managerial and policy implications, future trends et cetera. The podcast continues into 2022-23 and provides a set of research and learning resources for scholars, students and practitioners to use around the world.