An analysis of the impact on sport development resulting from the conduct of a major event

This post is my presentation from the European Association of Sport Management Conference (EASM) 2008 Conference.

The post contains the abstract, presentation video and slides.

Hodgetts, D., Mummery, K., & Duncan, M. (2008). An analysis of the impact on sport development resulting from the conduct of a major event. Paper presented at the European Association of Sport Management Conference, Heidelberg, Germany.

Research Aim
The aim of the current research is to investigate the impact that a major sporting event
has on the development of that sport in the region.
Theoretical Background
While there has long been an emphasis on the economic and tourism impacts, there is
increasing focus on other benefits from hosting major events, including leaving a
legacy for the sport itself [1]. This sport development legacy might include increased
participation, volunteers or coaching & officiating [1, 2]. It is not necessarily a matter
of “build it and they will come”, a conscious, sustained effort is required in order for a
sport to develop as a result of an event [3, 4]. In addition to this appealing concept of
providing benefits for sport, there has been little research has been done to measure
this aspect of an event`s impact [5, 6].
A case study approach was utilised for this research project. The Australian Surf Life
Saving Championships are an annual event with 6,000 competitors aged from 15 to
over 70 and an estimated 100,000 spectators over the five days of the event. The
championships are being held in Perth, Western Australia from 2007-2009. The 2007
event provided an AUD$23m economic impact to the state [7], but there is no
indication what impact the event has had on surf lifesaving in Western Australia. The
isolated nature of the location provides an opportunity to measure the impact the event
will have on the sport of surf lifesaving. In the initial phase, data were collected using
in-depth personal interviews with key stakeholders in Western Australia.
The interviews were conducted 12 months after the 2007 championships to determine
what impact the event has had on surf lifesaving in Western Australia. The interview
notes and transcripts were analysed using Silverman`s four phase process [8] of data
reduction, data display, conclusion drawing and verification. Results and Discussion
Preliminary analyses indicate: an increase in profile through media promotion, a
stronger reputation and relationship with government and other corporate partners,
and, better competition opportunities for members. Membership has been increasing
within the organisation, while this can`t be attributed solely to the event itself, the
increased profile and opportunities could be considered contributing factors to
increased membership.
The interviews revealed that more could be done as part of the 2008 and 2009 event to
create a legacy for sport development. The most prevalent were: to create better
opportunities for local officials to be up-skilled and included in key event roles,
encouraging local clubs to develop relationships with visiting clubs, and, making
better use of local expertise to provide opportunities for improvement in event
The findings suggest that the event is generating some benefits in the area of sport
development, but that further work is needed to create an ongoing legacy. Further
research will examine the organisation`s membership, coaching/officiating and
competition statistics and survey the broader membership on the legacy the event has
provided. These measures will be repeated for each of the three years of the event.
[1] UK Sport. (2005). Staging major sports events: the guide. Retrieved April 28,
2007, from
[2] Dwyer, L., Mellor, R., Mistilis, N., & Mules, T. (2000). A framework for assessing
“tangible” and “intangible” impacts of events and conventions. Event
Management, 6(3), 175-189.
[3] Brown, A., & Massey, J. (2001). The sports development impact of the Manchester
2002 Commonwealth Games: initial baseline research. Retrieved January 16,
2007, from
[4] Coalter, F. (1999). Sport and recreation in the United Kingdom: flow with the flow
or buck the trends? Managing Leisure, 4, 24-39.
[5] Coalter, F. (2004). London 2012: a sustainable sporting legacy? In A. Vigor, M.
Mean & C. Timms (Eds.), After the Goldrush: a sustainable Olympics for London.
London: ippr and Demos.
[6] Veal, A. J., & Toohey, K. (2005). Sport for All & the Legacy of the Sydney 2000
Olympic Games. Paper presented at the Third International Event Management
Research Conference, Sydney.
[7] Surf Life Saving Australia. (2008). Scarborough Beach set to come alive as
Aussies 08 comes to Perth. Retrieved April 3, 2008, from
[8] Silverman, D. (2000). Doing qualitative research: a practical handbook. London: Sage

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Danya Hodgetts

Dr Danya Hodgetts is a Sport Management consultant, educator and researcher with more than 25 years experience in the sport industry. Danya specialises in developing and implementing innovative education, training and professional development programs for national and state sporting bodies, TAFE and University.

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