This review considers the evidence for legacy from major sporting events. It looks across the four themes of the Commonwealth Games Evaluation Project (flourishing, sustainable, active and connected).


Literature Review Protocol


In July 2014 Glasgow will host the 20th Commonwealth Games. In addition to 11 days of sport, the Games provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a lasting economic, social and cultural legacy. Lessons from past sporting events could potentially play an important role when aiming to realise these legacy ambitions. This review will provide an overview of the existing evidence of legacy and will build on the previous review: 'Legacy Lessons from Past Large-Scale Sporting Events: Review of Evidence' which was conducted in the spring on 2012. Given the number of studies published since then in the run-up to, and after the London 2012 Olympics, this review needs to be updated in order to provide a more complete picture.

Aim of the review: To establish whether major international multi-sport events can leave a legacy.

Review questions: This review seeks to establish, through the available literature, whether major international multi-sports events leave a legacy. The specific review questions to be addressed are:

A) Do major international multi-sports events leave a positive legacy, if so what types of legacy?

B) Do major international multi-sports event lead to temporary effects but not necessarily a lasting legacy, if so what types of temporary effects?

C) Do major international multi-sports events lead to unintended consequences that lead to negative legacy, if so what types of negative legacy?

Review objectives

1. To develop and conduct a comprehensive search to identify relevant research according to the review protocol which can be replicated in future years.

2. To synthesize the best available evidence from included studies to produce a summary of type and scale of legacies produced.

3. To assess where possible the quality of relevant studies with regard to key methodological characteristics and potential for bias.

4. To identify knowledge gaps in the available research.

Inclusion Criteria

The events which will be included must:

  • Be multi-sport;
  • Have occurred between January 1970 and [January 2013];
  • International (not regional or national);
  • Repeat on an annual, biannual or 4 yearly basis; and
  • Move between different host countries/ cities.

Events which fall within the stated criteria are:

Title How often Scope Group
Commonwealth Youth Games 4 International Youth
CPLP Games International Youth
Deaflympics 4 International Equality
Gay Games 4 International Equality
Gymnasiade 4 International
Jeux de la Francophonie 4 International Language
Lusophony Games 4 International Language
Military World Games International
Olympic Games 4 International
Paralympic Games 4 International Equality
SELL Student Games 1 International Youth
Universiade 2 International Youth
World Games 4 International
World Masters Games 4 International
World Mind Sports Games International
World OutGames International Equality
World Police and Fire Games 2 International
World Transplant Games 2 International Equality
World Wheelchair and Amputee Games 1 International Equality
Youth Olympic Games 4 International Youth
Commonwealth Games 4 International

Studies will be includes which explore legacy as defined in the outcomes and intermediate outcomes set out in 'A Games Legacy for Scotland' under 4 national themes see: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0042/00421780.pdf. See attached criteria for selecting studies for review for more information.

Search strategy

The search strategy will be designed to access both published and unpublished English materials from peer reviewed journals and grey sources (such as from Games Federations, Organising Committees and Governments). The review will be undertaken in three stages:

(1) Reassess the initial literature search results from 2012 with our new inclusion criteria. This literature search was based on these search terms: legacy, impact, evaluation, Olympics, Commonwealth Games.

IDOX has undertaken a search of the title, abstract and subject descriptors of articles between 2010-2013 in all its current journal subscriptions and electronic sources using predetermined keywords. See list below:

The search used by IDOX will be:

((key:(sport* OR events OR olympic* OR paralympic*) AND (abs:(olympic* OR paralympic* OR "commonwealth games" OR "mega events" OR "mega event" OR megaevent* OR "major sports events" OR "major sporting events" OR"major sports event" OR "major sporting event") OR til:(olympic* OR paralympic*OR "commonwealth games" OR "mega events" OR "mega event" OR megaevent* OR "major sports events" OR "major sporting events" OR"major sports event" OR "major sporting event"))) OR til:(olympic* OR paralympic* OR "commonwealth games") OR (til:("mega event" OR "mega events" OR megaevent* OR "major events"~1 OR "major event"~1) AND key:sport*) OR (key:"major sports events" AND (sport* OR football OR cycling OR golf OR motorsports))) [DN: Probably need them to tweak their search]

(2) Additional relevant keywords contained in the title, abstract and subject descriptors of these articles will be identified. Terms identified in this way, and the synonyms used, will be used to extend the IDOX search of the literature.

(3) Reference lists and bibliographies of the articles collected from those identified in stages one and two above will also be searched.

Full copies of articles identified by the search, and considered to meet the inclusion criteria, based on their title, abstract and subject descriptors, will be obtained for data synthesis. During stage 2 articles identified through reference list and bibliographic searches will also be considered for data collection based on their title. Two reviewers will independently select articles against the inclusion criteria. Discrepancies in reviewer selections will be resolved at a meeting between reviewers prior to selected articles.

Criteria for selecting studies for the review


These are identified based on the intermediate outcomes and research questions

Flourishing GVA
International reputation
Foreign Direct Investment
Labour Market
Economic Impact
Major Event Capability
Opportunity Costs
Capacity building
Active Physical activity
Participation in sport
Sport infrastructure
Sporting success
Demonstration effect
Festival effect
Connected Creative industries
Cultural engagement
Civic pride
Sustainable Regeneration
Environmental responsibility
Environmental design
Communities engagement
Communities empowerment
Green spaces
Cross-cutting Equality/inequality

After Step 1 of the Search Strategy, additional search terms will be identified to target these outcomes using the terms identified in the literature.

Outcomes and intermediate outcomes

Outcomes and intermediate outcomes


Email: Social Research

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