UK Sport backs major research on Legacy Impact

The concept of ‘Legacy’ is becoming increasingly important in planning major events, with UK Sport believing that it should lie at the heart of event planning, underpinning the entire planning process. Events offer a key opportunity to engage multiple stakeholders and act as a vehicle to help drive a range of legacy benefits. Speaking at the inaugural Legacy Lives conference in London this week, UK Sport’s International Director, John Scott, said there had been a narrow interpretation of legacy in the past, with a lack of understanding as to a true return on investment and pledged to commission a study to bring clarity to legacy measurement.

“To date, there is no commonly accepted typology to determine legacy impact across the field, he said. “There needs to be a collective understanding of measurement across public funders and event stakeholders, with an agreed set of methodological principles based around each type of impact, as well as having the ability to forecast and evaluate legacy aspects.”

UK Sport’s main priority lies in sporting legacy, whether it be medal success, sports development, facility development or capacity building, but it recognises the importance of other legacy variables such as economic benefits, tourism, environmental, social and cultural areas. Between 2001 and 2006, UK Sport provided 74% of the public funding to major events on the World Class Events Programme. It is anticipated that this figure will drop to 42%, with more and more new partners, such as regional development agencies and city councils, recognising the important benefits hosting events can bring.

“Understanding the impact of legacy is fundamental for the justification for investment in major events,” explained Scott. “In 1997, when we first started investing in events, there was no accepted methodology to demonstrate the economic benefits hosting an event would bring to a region. We’ve worked to change this, developing an Economic Impact Model, which has now been tested on over 20 events. Going forward, we need to extend this work to other legacy variables, bearing in mind that some are easier to measure than others ... The piece of work we are commissioning will seek to understand a range of impacts and is a crucial piece of work for all public funders in the UK.”