Research Report

Large Scale Sports Events: Event Impact Framework, Report to UK Sport


Coalter F & Taylor J (2009) Large Scale Sports Events: Event Impact Framework, Report to UK Sport.

Introduction Although large scale sports events can act as a catalyst for wider urban regeneration schemes, there is substantial scepticism about the claims made for the direct and indirect economic impact of such events This scepticism relates both to the motivations of those making such claims (mostly as part of the lobbying process in advance of the event) and a series of technical, econometric, concerns about the basis of such calculations and the use of multipliers.. Perhaps for this reason increasing emphasis is being placed on „non-economic‟, intangible benefits, benefits (Johnson and Sack, 1996). For example, Dwyer et al (2000 176) argue that „many events incur a financial loss to organisers but produce net benefits to the community‟. For example, Crompton (1995; 2004) lists such benefits as increased community visibility, enhanced community image and psychic income to city residents. Another reason for this increased emphasis is a growing need to secure public support for often very large scale investments – to emphasise the public good nature of such investments which are nearly always subsidised from taxation or Lottery funds by people who will have very little direct contact with the event. However, work on so-called intangibles is not well developed (especially in relation to sports events). There is a substantial body of academic literature reviewing what we do not know (which is a lot). Further, what we need to know is much too comprehensive and methodologically sophisticated for a user-friendly manual and the nature of available monitoring and evaluation budgets (e.g. Ritchie, 1984; Gibson, 1998; Getz, 1998; Hunn and Mangan, 1999; Mules, 1999; Fredline et al, 2003). There is also a substantial body of literature on the negative impacts of large scale sports events, ranging from attacks on civil rights, the harassment of the homeless, the destruction of low cost hosting and property price inflation (Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions, 2007a; 2007b) to crowding out of local residents, increased crime, prostitution and traffic congestion and disruption of business. However, this is not intended to be an academic exercise and is more of an attempt to explore the possibility of the development of a user-friendly, practical and feasible guide to measuring some of the impacts of various scales of events. Consequently, the emphasis is largely on the immediate and (hopefully) positive non-economic impacts of events – although any such measurement will inevitable also include some negative assessments. Because of the issues to be addressed, the literature drawn on is wide-ranging and diverse, with most of the key development work being in the areas of tourism studies and the more general event-management literature. For this reason this does not claim to be a comprehensive state-of-the-art review of the wide ranging (and often technical) debates and perspectives to be found in the academic literature - this would require an expert in each field (something to bear in mind if you decide to proceed with a manual) Rather, what follows is based on a reasonably informed selection relating to the core claims about the non-economic impacts of sports events and a broad review of limited research and related issues. Also, because so little directly relevant research has been undertaken, at points we explore theoretical issues. We have done so because it is imperative that any research and evaluation is based on some degree of understanding of the assumptions being made – undertaking monitoring and evaluation without some understanding of what is being assumed leads to poor design and wasted investment. Also such understanding is central to the interpretation of data and the issue of attribution of cause is an issue throughout.

; Sports Social aspects; Sports Economic aspects

Publication date23/12/2009