The Legacies of Mega-Sporting Events

The project

This is an on-going project on the legacies of sports mega-events, including the social and economic impact of the Olympics, FIFA World Cup and other major events. Five broad and dominant ‘legacies’ or ‘benefits’ have been noted and the research sets out to find evidence to support them. They are:

  1. Elite sport inspires the masses to take up sport/physical activity
  2. Sports mega-events are economically beneficial
  3. Such events generate a ‘feel-good factor’ among citizens
  4. They allow much needed urban regeneration
  5. Host states benefit by showcasing themselves internationally

What did the research set out to achieve?

The project sets out to test the reliability of the 5 ‘legacies’ looking at previous sports mega-events. An in-depth case study of Germany’s hosting of the 2006 World Cup has been completed, as this is widely recognised as the most successful use of a sports mega-event to gain international prestige and enhance a nation’s image.

What impact will it have on the Olympics, sports industry

The wider impact of this research is likely to be to help understand the ‘why’ behind the increasing politicisation of sport by a wide variety of states. It is no longer just ‘advanced capitalist’ states that seek elite sport success and to host sports mega-events; we now have ‘emerging’ states (South Africa, China, Brazil) and ‘small’ states (Qatar) joining the bidding competition.

The research team

Dr Jonathan Grix is Senior Lecturer in Sport Politics and Policy at the University of Birmingham