Social capital as a legacy from a major sporting event

This post is my presentation from the Sport Management Association of Australia and New Zealand (SMAANZ) 2012 Conference. The post contains the abstract and slides.

Hodgetts, D., & Duncan, M. (2012). Social capital as a legacy from a major sporting event. Paper presented at the Sport Management Australia Association of New Zealand Conference, Sydney, Australia.

Events are recognised as providing a number of planned and unplanned, positive and negative, tangible and intangible changes that last longer than the actual event (Preuss, 2007). A potential benefit from major events is the creation of social capital, which can be defined as the accrual of resources that are connected to a sustainable network (Bourdieu, 1986). Putnam (2000) describes social capital being derived in two ways: bonding capital, created within a like-minded group; and, bridging capital, which is generated through diverse networks. Sport organisations have been described as sites for bonding capital, which may only assist an organisation in “getting by”, rather than creating bridging capital to “get ahead” (Doherty & K. Misener, 2008). Sport events have been suggested as an opportunity for the creation of social capital, allowing for growth and improvement within sport organisations (L. Misener & Mason, 2006).

Face to face surveys and semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with competitors, spectators and key stakeholders at the 2007-2009 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships in Scarborough, Western Australia. The survey consisted of demographic, surf lifesaving background and event specific questions. The interview had five open-ended questions. Both the survey and interviews asked participants about the event’s impact on general change to surf lifesaving in Western Australia, changes to partnerships and to provide a key event memory. The memory was something that resonated with them personally and first came to mind when they recalled the event. The qualitative data was analysed for common themes using inductive coding.

The analysis showed the creation of bonding capital through a strong collective identity, an increased sense of pride and a strong sense of achievement in the organisation. Bridging capital was reported through the establishment of new and enhancement of existing relationships with state government, local government, corporate partners, media, police, community service organisations and schools.

The findings suggest social capital should be incorporated into event planning and evaluation strategies.

Slideshare slides

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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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