Examining the plumbing: looking at the inhibitors and enablers of the trickle down effect

This post is my presentation from the Sport Management Association of Australia and New Zealand (SMAANZ) 2015 Conference.

This post contains the abstract and slides.

Hodgetts, D. (2015). Examining the plumbing: looking at the inhibitors and enablers of the trickle down effect. Paper presented at the Sport Management Association of Australia New Zealand Conference, Hobart, Australia.

The trickle down (or demonstration) effect is generally defined as an increase in general physical activity or sport participation resulting from the conduct of a major event. The assumption of increasing participation resulting from the inspiration of elite sporting success has been frequently used in the Australian sporting landscape, predominantly as a justification for funding elite sport (Australian Institute of Sport, 2012; Australian Sports Commission, 2000; 2012; Bloomfield, 1973). A number of studies over the past 20 years have shown that there has been none, or minimal, trickle down resulting from the conduct of mega events, such as the Olympic and Commonwealth Games (Hindson, Gidlow, & Peebles, 1994; Veal, Toohey, & Frawley, 2012; Weed et al., 2015; Wicker & Sotiriadou, 2013).

What has not been extensively examined in the literature to date are the mechanisms that might, or might not, cause this trickle down effect to occur. To put it simply: what happens between an individual watching a sporting event and them exercising? Weed et al. (2015) argue that London 2012 participation strategies lacked focus on how to create this demand for post event sport. Recent studies have applied the exercise adherence models to try and understand how this demand works at a participant behavioural level (Potwarka & Leatherdale, 2015; Weed et al., 2015).

This presentation will evaluate the contribution of exercise adherence, market segmentation, mass health promotion campaigns, mass participation sport events, television viewing, role model effects and self efficacy as antecedents of a trickle down behaviour change.

As Veal et al. (2012, p. 177), suggest: “in order to leverage sporting events to achieve a sport participation legacy, it is necessary to know what levers to pull”. The use of multi-disciplinary frameworks will seek provide a better understanding of the ‘levers’ involved, and if there is sufficient leverage to produce a trickle down effect.

Keywords: event legacy, sport participation, physical activity, trickle down effect, demonstration effect.

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Danya Hodgetts

Dr Danya Hodgetts is a Sport Management consultant, educator and researcher with more than 20 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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