Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games legacy: final evaluation report April 2018

This evaluation report of the Commonwealth Games 2014 legacy summarises previous findings and sets out new findings since the last report in 2015.

Chapter 6: International Reputation and Civic Pride

The evidence from previous major events

There is a relatively limited evidence base on the effect of hosting a major multi sports event on international reputation. The evidence review found some empirical evidence that the international perception of host places as tourist destinations and places to do business has been enhanced post Games.

The evidence review also found that media coverage is fundamental to how an event is perceived. Translating this media opportunity into a positive reputational boost requires the delivery of a successful event. Harnessing this potential boost for any long term reputational change requires a long term approach to place branding that is linked to the host place's wider social and cultural environment.

The review also found while there is much written on the link between major sporting events and civic pride, the literature contains few empirical studies that have addressed the question. This limited literature finds some evidence that events can create a 'feel-good' boost in civic pride and community participation during and in the immediate aftermath of the event.

Glasgow 2014 approach

A Games Health Impact Assessment carried out in 2012 found that boosting civic pride was one of the top anticipated long term benefits of the Games among Glasgow residents. [61] , [62] Actions to boost civic pride recommended included ensuring adequate opportunities for community involvement and harnessing the pride residents have in their city by ensuring sufficient opportunities for all to participate in an ambassadorial role. Major opportunities for community involvement and participation, in Glasgow and across Scotland, came from the Queens Baton Relay ( QBR), the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme, Event Scotland's four year 'Games for Scotland' programme and the Big Lottery Celebrate programme.

Key findings from Glasgow 2014

  • The Games achieved a global broadcast audience across Africa, Americas, Asia, Caribbean, Europe and Oceania. More than 30 individual broadcasting rights deals ensured a wider international coverage than any previous Commonwealth Games. The Games were broadcast across the Commonwealth, and, for the first time, daily highlights packages were shown by the CBS Sports Network in the USA and TV Asia, widening the global audience. It is estimated that the global audience reached by the Games was over 1 billion worldwide through a range of international television and radio channels.
  • Broadcasters Audience Research Board ( BARB) figures indicate over 35 million people in the UK watched the Games – 61% of all TV viewers in the UK. [63] This was higher than the audience for previous Commonwealth Games in Delhi and Melbourne. In Scotland, 78% of TV viewers watched the Games (3.6 million people)
  • Cultural and sporting events at the Hydro have helped increase reputation of Glasgow as a city that can host international events and celebrities. Glasgow is currently home one of the busiest music arenas in Europe (see Figure 4).
  • The Nation Brands Index ( NBI) SM is the key source of evidence on Scotland's international reputation. [64] Data for Scotland has been collected since 2008. The NBI examines the image of 50 countries by looking at a country's reputation on six dimensions: exports, governance, culture, people, tourism, and investment and immigration. The index shows improvements over time in Scotland' reputation and for its reputation for culture and sport in particular.
  • Scotland's overall score on the Nations Brand Index in 2016 was 62.2 and rank of 15 th, showing that Scotland continues to have a strong reputation abroad. This is the highest score Scotland has received from the available data [65] since the baseline study of 2008. Scotland's relative rank has improved by two places since 2014. Perceptions of Scotland are generally highest amongst Commonwealth and English speaking countries. Broadly, analysis of the NBI data indicates a relationship between familiarity and favourability – the higher the awareness of a nation among panellists, the more favourable they tend to be. The increased awareness or international familiarity with Scotland in 2014 is likely to be linked to the increased favourability reflected in the score improvement.

Figure 4 – The Hydro

The Hydro has hosted around 140 cultural and sporting events each year, including the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in 2015. The venue is also amongst the busiest music arenas in Europe and in 2016 was the eighth busiest music arena in the world in terms of ticket sales. The visitor expenditure associated with the Hydro has also supported the on-going regeneration of the Riverside and the wider Finnieston area, with the Times newspaper naming Finnieston as 'the hippest place to live in the UK' in early 2016

' indirectly the exposure that both Glasgow and the SECC has secured from the media hype surrounding the Commonwealth Games has opened the doors for major events such as the MOBO Awards for 2015, the MTV European Music Awards, the BBC Sports Personality of the year and the hundreds of concerts and live entertainment events lined up in the years ahead. The success of The Hydro in attracting quality entertainment opportunities to the city has a major knock on effect for the broader tourism industry in Glasgow. Burgeoning restaurant trade in the near vicinity of the arena, new hotels and much improved retail confidence are signs that the arena is well on the way to achieving its objectives for the city.'

John Langford, Director of Live Entertainment at the Hydro, 2014.

  • Of particular relevance here, the Culture dimension of the NBI measures three elements of a country's cultural reputation: cultural history and heritage, contemporary culture and sporting excellence. Scotland's rank for Culture was higher in 2016 (16 th) than in 2014 (19 th), along with an increase in score of one point. Particularly worthy of note is that Scotland's ranking for excellence in sports is much higher in 2016 than it was in 2014 (up 5 places) and Scotland's rank for contemporary culture was also higher in 2016 than in 2014, increasing by three places, along with a slight increase in score.
  • The Ernst and Young Attractiveness Survey published in 2016 suggested there was a "halo effect" from events including the XX Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup that may have resulted in "abnormally high" levels of investment into Scotland in 2015. [66]
  • For Glasgow, there is some indication that its international profile has risen since 2008, in particular its reputation as a host of sporting events. For example, in 2016 Glasgow was ranked number 5 in the world on the Ultimate Sport Cities Index, up from 9th in 2012. [67] Glasgow also won the sport tourism category in the 2016 World Travel Market Global Sport Tourism Awards.
  • Cultural and sporting events at the Hydro have helped increase reputation of Glasgow as a city that can host international events and celebrities. Glasgow is currently home one of the busiest music arenas in Europe (see Figure 4).
  • Further, building on the legacy of the XX Commonwealth Games, Glasgow has attracted 31 UK and international conferences in the sports and sports science sectors since summer 2014, through until 2021. Combined, these 31 conferences are expected to attract more than 11,000 visiting delegates and generate an estimated £14 million for the city's economy. [68]

Civic pride and participation

  • The XX Commonwealth Games enjoyed high levels of public support across Scotland, Glasgow and the East End of Glasgow. People in Scotland believe the longer term impact of the Games will be positive [69] – with improved facilities, regeneration, tourism, enhanced civic pride and international reputation commonly mentioned as anticipated benefits. Evidence from a range of sources [70] shows Glasgow residents did embrace the Games, and the majority were supportive of the Games coming to Glasgow and anticipated lasting benefits.
  • The GoWell East study showed positive impacts of the Games and regeneration on local civic pride in the study area. [71] Pride in the local area increased from 60% to 74% between 2012 and 2016 and pride in the city of Glasgow increased from 87% in 2012 and to 91% in 2016. Attitudes to the Commonwealth Games appear to have become less strongly positive over time, although this is largely due to an increase in neutral attitudes, with no increase in opposition to the hosting of the Games in the light of residents' experience. Perceptions that the Games had a positive impact were highest among recent residents, suggesting that the Games may have played a role in boosting the attractiveness of the area to newcomers. By 2016, 41% felt that the Games had had a positive impact upon their families. However, this was lower than the 56% who said that they expected a positive impact in 2012.

Key lessons and developments

It is plausible that hosting the XX Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup has had an impact on international reputation, particularly given the rise in the cultural domain of the NBI in 2016. International reputation features to some extent in the legacy plans of other major sporting events. The XX Commonwealth Games experience suggests that this is a legitimate and achievable aspiration for a major event if the event delivery is deemed a success. Extensive and positive media coverage of a successful event is likely to be a key driver for improvements in international reputation.

Similarly with civic pride, there were high levels of public support for the hosting of the XX Commonwealth Games and high levels of pride in the areas most immediately affected by the preparation and delivery. Increasing civic pride also appears to be a legitimate and achievable legacy aspiration for host cities and nations if the event is considered to be a success.


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