Posted by: Norman Brook | October 25, 2010

Planning a Sporting Legacy for Major Sporting Events

Legacy is that which is handed down from the past. In terms of major sporting events it is what is left after the event is concluded. Legacy planning takes place ahead of major sporting events to ensure that what is left after the event is of benefit to the event’s stakeholders especially the host city and local community. A legacy that depends on an event that has not yet occurred is referred to as the contingent legacy.

So what are the contingent legacies around major sporting events that need to be considered in the legacy planning?

Economic Legacy

A high value is now placed on the ongoing economic benefit. How is the investment in infrastructure, new facilities, jobs, education and training, etc, taken forward? How do the stakeholders in a major sporting event ensure that there is long term sustainability, that new infrastructure supports regeneration, economic development and job creation? How do they ensure that new sporting facilities are used in the future to create economic and social benefit? How is the event used to provide people with new skills that will lead to future employment?

Social Legacy

Investment in major sporting events cannot just be about a few elite sports performers or those who wish to attend and support the event. The investment has to have a long term benefit for communities. How will infrastructure and new facilities benefit local communities?  How will the event help develop local communities by encouraging employment training and volunteering. Is the event being used to support regeneration and the building of socially disadvantaged communities?

Environmental Legacy

Questions also need to be asked as to what the environmental benefits of hosting a major sporting event will be? Protection of the environment needs to be at the heart of planning for infrastructure and facilities. The event also needs to be used as a model of best practice around environmental issues. Therefore strategies need to be created that influence people’s behaviour as much as strategies around environmentally friendly materials for construction or renewable utilities.

Sporting Legacy

One of the biggest challenges to the stakeholders of major sporting events is how to ensure a legacy for sport. A legacy that sees increased mass participation in sport, access to better facilities to play sport, access to coaching, and one which encourages talented young people to take up and excel at sport.

Planning a Sporting Legacy

The organisers and stakeholders of major sporting events cannot assume that a beneficial sporting legacy will result from simply hosting an event.  A sporting legacy needs to be planned for. All major sporting events need to have in place a strategic plan for sports legacy. A strategic plan for sports legacy will detail:

  • how the sporting legacy will encourage underrepresented groups to take part in sport, in particular, the previously disadvantaged, the socially disadvantaged, women, and people with a disability.
  • how legacy sporting events will be attracted ensuring ongoing use of the facilities and infrastructure developed for the major sporting event;
  • how school and youth sport will be developed as a result of the event;
  • how sports coaching will be developed as a result of the event;
  • how sports volunteers for the event will be retained and deployed for future community and sporting events; 
  • how mass participation will be promoted around and then sustained post the event.
  • how the sporting legacy will encourage underrepresented groups to take part in sport, in particular, the previously disadvantaged, the socially disadvantaged, women, and people with a disability.
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