Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games legacy: summary findings April 2018

This is the summary of the final report on the evaluation of the Commonwealth Games 2014 legacy.

Overall findings

The final Glasgow 2014 legacy report shows that with effective planning, governance and leadership positive legacy effects are possible, but not automatic. Depending on the social and economic challenges faced by a host city or nation, hosting major events can be used a 'catalyst' for the outcomes that national and local government and partners seek to achieve.

Key risks identified in other studies of major events were mitigated for the XX Commonwealth Games. Venues and housing were planned and developed with their end-use and ownership already agreed. There were deliberate decisions that new and refurbished Games venues would be multi-sport venues that could both host major events and provide opportunities for the local community. This has resulted in Scotland attracting international events and the venues are well used by local communities since hosting the Games.

Our advice to future hosts is to undertake an honest assessment of what can be directly achieved by hosting a major event and what might be possible with additional investment. The evidence suggests that ambitious claims about long-term economic impact and population level changes in physical activity may need to be tempered, while other potential impacts on improving international reputation, civic pride and achieving a range of regeneration outcomes (where that applies) are achievable.

The early planning, depth of partnership and collective leadership of legacy across public, private and third sector agencies has been acknowledged nationally and internationally. The XX Commonwealth Games experience has been invaluable in preparing for a new multi-sports event, the 2018 European Championships, to be co-hosted with Berlin in August 2018.


  • In total, over the period 2007-2014, the preparation for and delivery of the Commonwealth Games is estimated to have contributed, in gross terms, £740 million to Scotland's GVA (£390 million of which was to Glasgow's GVA) and supported an estimated average of 2,100 jobs per year nationally (1,200 of which were in Glasgow), with a clear peak in 2014.
  • Businesses across Scotland benefitted from Games contracts and it is likely that the support put in place by Games partners facilitated this. £669 million worth of Games Tier 1 contracts were awarded, with £510 million of these (76%) awarded to businesses based in Scotland.
  • Overall, the findings from XX Commonwealth Games broadly chime with the international experience on economic benefit, though in some respects Glasgow 2014 has arguably exceeded expectations. The immediate economic impact of the delivery of the Games is broadly similar to the impact of Games partners' contributions if they were instead spent as standard government expenditure. Nonetheless, the delivery of a successful Games and the investment in infrastructure is having a number of longer-term benefits.
  • By the end of 2017, a total of 57 events of UK or international standing had been secured at Commonwealth Games venues and a further 8 events in Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth sports, but held out-with Commonwealth venues.
  • The Ernst and Young Attractiveness Survey published in 2016 suggested there was a "halo effect" from events including the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup that may have resulted in "abnormally high" levels of investment into Scotland in 2015.

International reputation

  • Glasgow 2014 achieved a global broadcast audience. More than 30 individual broadcasting rights deals ensured a wider international coverage than any previous Commonwealth Games. 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 were in the UK. 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)
  • For Glasgow, there is some indication that its international profile has increased 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. Glasgow also won the sport tourism category in the 2016 World Travel Market Global Sport Tourism Awards.
  • The Culture dimension of the Nations Brand Index measures three elements of a country's cultural reputation: cultural history and heritage, contemporary culture and sporting excellence. Scotland's ranking for excellence in sports was considerably higher in 2016 than it was in 2014 (up five places) and Scotland's rank for contemporary culture was also higher, increasing by three places, along with a slight increase in score.


  • Over 50,000 people from Scotland and beyond applied to become one of 12,300 Games Time Volunteers – known as Clyde-siders. This included 160 dedicated Accessibility Volunteers to ensure a positive Games experience for those who required assistance or support. A further 300 pre-Games Frontrunner Volunteers, 1,100 Host City Volunteers and 3,000 volunteers for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies were recruited.
  • Research from the XX Commonwealth Games and other major events demonstrates that volunteering can lead to increased confidence, knowledge and skills. Clyde-siders were, however, not representative of the Glasgow and/or Scotland population, with higher than average levels of qualifications and volunteering experience compared to the general population. This chimes with previous research on major events. To optimise a volunteering legacy, event organisers need to take clear steps to target those with the most to gain from volunteering experience and tailor the experience to different demographic groups.
  • The Host City Volunteers ( HCVs) offered advice and support to spectators across the city during the Games. They were a more diverse group. Recent research shows that 82% of HCV respondents considered their Games-time experience to have been positive three years after the Games were over. The research points, however, to the challenges for organisers in moving from staging a one-off event to having a more permanent, longer-term impact on volunteering.
  • The Glasgow 2018 volunteering programme has been adapted to respond to these findings. Glasgow Life has established the Glasgow Volunteer Bureau, a bespoke brokerage service linking those wishing to volunteer at other Glasgow sport events and/or in community sports clubs to event organisers and clubs requiring volunteers.


  • Long-term investment in regeneration that harnessed the opportunity of the major event shows clear signs of success in Glasgow and a number of conditions needed to be in place to make that happen. These included a long-term financial commitment, sustained levels of public and private investment, high quality leadership and high levels of collaboration between partner organisations and the community.
  • There are substantial improvements in many housing and regeneration outcomes in the GoWell [1] East study area, including on satisfaction with neighbourhoods, pride in the local area and employment rates. Over four fifths (83%) of GoWell East respondents were either very or fairly satisfied with their neighbourhood in 2016. This is an increase of 13%, from 70% in 2012.
  • The results on community engagement in the GoWell East study area are particularly interesting, sitting at twice the national average by 2016. The number of participants who felt they could influence decisions affecting their local area increased from 37% in 2012 to 45% in 2016. This is nearly twice the national rate.
  • There were welcome improvements in feelings of safety in the area. The number of participants who said that they felt safe walking in their neighbourhood after dark increased from 52% in 2012 to 72% in 2016. The latter is higher than the rate for Glasgow (67%) and very close to the national figure (74%).
  • However, there are less encouraging results on volunteering, physical activity and cultural engagement, highlighting the challenges in influencing change in a population who are in relatively poor health and are facing difficulties associated with welfare reform.
  • Most residents rated their Athletes' Village dwellings very positively and derive benefits such as feelings of control and personal progress from their homes. The predominant view among both owners and social renters is that the Village is a harmonious place where people from different backgrounds get on well together.

Physical Activity and Sport

  • The international evidence shows that hosting a major event is not, in and of itself, likely to have an automatic positive impact on population levels of sports participation and physical activity. There are so many factors that influence the nature and levels of both. The XX Commonwealth Games have not resulted in a step change in population levels of physical activity in Scotland. That said, overall participation rates have remained relatively stable in Scotland and there is evidence that those already active are more active.
  • There is evidence of improved infrastructure (people and places), increased use of Glasgow Life facilities, new pathways into sport and increased opportunities. Further, hosting major events provides some pace and momentum for existing or new Physical Activity Strategies, in particular by grasping the opportunities offered by the new infrastructure.
  • The development and subsequent use of sports infrastructure by local communities has continued and has not faced the difficulties experienced by some other major events. There is evidence of increases in community use and satisfaction with the venues. There are now over 6.4 million annual attendances at sports facilities across Glasgow, representing an 18.2% rise since 2009. Satisfaction with community sports facilities is high and stable – 87% in Scotland and 92% in Glasgow in 2016.
  • Since 2010-11 sportscotland has invested up to £12 million in the development of Community Sport Hubs across Scotland as part of their legacy activity. There are currently 181 operational hubs across 31 local authorities, with 54% of planned hubs based in schools. At the end of 2016-17 there were 1,248 sports clubs involved with hubs, with 149,803 active hub members and 14,632 people delivering sport and physical activity in hubs.
  • Increased investment into Scottish Governing Bodies ( SGBs) of sport in the run-up to the Games improved capacity within their pathways to support increases in interest and participation as a result of the Games. From 2013-14 to 2016-17 Scottish governing body playing membership in the Glasgow 2014 sports increased by 10%.


  • The evaluation of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme found it was unprecedented in scale compared to any previous cultural celebrations in Scotland. The programme contained over 3,000 performances, 3,600 exhibition days and was delivered by over 10,000 artists and arts and culture professionals, supported by almost 4,000 volunteers.
  • The programme attracted an estimated 2.1 million attendances and 600,000 participants. Notable elements of the programme aimed at inspiring participation at scale included Get Scotland Dancing and Big Big Sing. Over 8 in 10 projects in the Programme reported that some or all of their activities were provided free of charge.
  • The evaluation concludes that the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme represented a step change in terms of Commonwealth Games cultural programming and the status of the culture elements within the overall Commonwealth Games event. From 2022, a cultural programme will be part of the formal criteria for judging bids by the Commonwealth Games Federation.
  • There is evidence from the Games Time Visitor Survey that Festival 2014 contributed to broadening the cultural engagement experiences of those who did attend. One in six (14%) visitors reported they had experienced cultural activities and events that were previously unfamiliar. This increased to 23% among residents of Glasgow.

The full results and references can be found in the main report.


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