Sport development legacies from major events: Legacy by osmosis?

This post is my presentation from the Sport Management Association of Australia and New Zealand (SMAANZ) 2010 Conference.

The post contains the abstract and slides.

Hodgetts, D., Mummery, K., & Duncan, M. (2010). Sport development legacies from major events: Legacy by osmosis? Paper presented at the Sport Management Association of Australia New Zealand Conference, Wellington, New Zealand.

It is commonly believed that major sporting events provide ongoing benefits separate from infrastructure provision, including increased participation in the sport in question and physical activity in general. This is becoming an increasingly important aspect of hosting a major sporting event, with event organisers considering how a major event can benefit the development of the sport. However, there is little empirical research to support that such development occurs.

The Australian Surf Life Saving Championships (ASLSC) were held in Kurrawa, Queensland from 1995 – 2006. From 2007 – 2009, the event was held in Scarborough, Western Australia, which provides an opportunity to study the interactions between an event and sport in terms of legacy.

Regression analysis was conducted using membership statistics from Surf Life Saving Western Australia and its 28 individual clubs from 1990 to 2009. Membership Categories that may indicate changes in sport participation (active patrolling members, juniors, total membership, Bronze medallion awards, coaches, officials, competitor numbers, performance and media) were examined in Western Australia during this period. These variables were regressed against a dichotomous ‘dummy’ variable indicating event location and equivalent data from other Australian states.

There were no significant changes in any of the membership categories in Western Australia during the time Western Australia hosted the event when accounting for membership variation in the wider organisation. Significant changes were found for competitor numbers, performance and media.

The findings indicate that hosting the ASLSC event for three years at a location did not result in increases in participation in the host State – legacy did not occur by osmosis. This suggests that dedicated strategies need to be implemented by event hosts to leverage hosting the event into desired sport development outcomes.

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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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