Dr. Michael Mahoney

Each month, we’ll be sharing the research and global adventures of one of our faculty members and/or students who have conducted research in his/her field of study, in our new blog series entitled: Global Research Series.

The beautiful and picturesque backdrop of Slovenia may make for an excellent getaway for some, but for Recreation Administration Professor, Dr. Michael Mahoney, it served as the perfect location to conduct his research and comparative analysis projects.

Slovenia, which is bordered by Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, has a population slightly above two million. Mahoney even has a dual citizenship with the European country. He has several projects in the works, which all involve his focus area of sport and entertainment facility management.

His first project deals with facility management in regards to public transportation in the region. Transit Planning: A Collaborative Approach by Facility Management, Municipal Government, and Private Business, came into fruition one year ago in September 2013, when Mahoney left the late summer heat of Fresno for Slovenia to embark on his sabbatical.

He arrived in the country to attend the European Basketball Championships – EuroBasket Slovenia 2013, in the city of Ljubljana, in which he conducted his primary research, and as a transport hub for meetings in Croatia (Arena Zagreb) and England (Emirates Stadium).

Stožice Center in Ljubljana

Throughout his fall 2013 stay in Slovenia, he met with representatives of Šport Ljubljana – an agency that oversees the cities’ Stožice Center (Arena and Stadium). This relatively new entertainment center hosts a variety of sports, concerts, and more. The idea for the transit-planning project came about following the 2013 European Men’s Basketball Championships, held at the arena. Due to patrons coming from many European nations including neighboring countries, a two to three hour drive away, the issue of traffic and transportation was a bit of a challenge.

Now Mahoney is taking a look at prior challenges (i.e., IL DIVO 2012 concert, EuroBasket 2013) and configuring alternative plans that could be put in place to alleviate such transport and accessibility challenges.

“Events geared towards locals is easy, but planning for non-natives is different,” Mahoney said. “You need to account for increased numbers of visitors, vehicles, VIP and sponsor shuttles, staff, media, designated parking lots, etc. Failure to accommodate those persons with special needs or mobility limitations is unacceptable. Venue and event accessibility, along with transportation planning and buy-in from not only the host venue but, also the organizing committee and/or promoter, governmental officials, and private industry is key.”

He most recently traveled back to the country to attend the MakeLearn – Management Knowledge and Learning International Conference in the city of Portoroz, where he also presented his project, Engaging with Industry: Collaborative Action Research as a Useful Tool in Facility Management.

Energy Input and Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Turf Maintenance Equipment and Select European Stadiums is another project Mahoney is working on. This project looks at researching everything that goes into maintaining and sustaining turf, including the equipment used and amount of energy that is involved. He just started that project this past summer and hopes to expand on it by including additional European stadiums, beyond the already participating Stožice Stadium.

University of Ljubljana

While in Slovenia, Mahoney made the most of his time by enrolling in the Summer Slovene language class at the Center of Slovene Studies, University of Ljubljana. He took the four-week long language course during the mornings and spent the rest of his day conducting research and meeting with project members. Mahoney hopes to have better fluency of the language from the country he has grown to love.

Mahoney’s other projects include conducting a comparative analysis of fire and safety protocols between the U.S. and Europe and also taking a look at the United Kingdom’s Equality Act as compared to the Americans with Disabilities Act pertaining to sports and entertainment venues.

The great thing about Mahoney’s research is that he is able to take what he has learned and apply it toward his coursework, giving his students a firsthand account of what they can possibly experience in their future career in sport and entertainment facility management.

“By including global research findings and industry challenges into the curriculum, the class response has been highly interactive, and inclusive of truly analytical and practitioner focused thinking,” said Mahoney. “Students connect to the successes and challenges exhibited via the global projects, and several have expressed desires to intern and/or seek industry employment opportunities abroad.”

To learn more about Dr. Mahoney’s research in Slovenia, please contact him at 559.278.5263 or