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).

1. Introduction

1.1 The aim of this evidence review is to establish whether major international multi-sport events can leave a legacy, and if so, what factors are important for making that happen. It updates a previous review which was conducted in the spring of 2012 (Owe, 2012). The research questions that guided this review were as following:

  • Do major international multi-sports events leave a positive legacy, if so what types of legacy?
  • Do major international multi-sports events lead to temporary effects but not necessarily a lasting legacy, if so what types of temporary effects?
  • Do major international multi-sports events lead to unintended consequences that lead to negative legacy, if so what types of negative legacy?

Context of the literature review

1.2 Glasgow will host the 2014 Commonwealth Games from 23 July to 3 August 2014. Approximately 6,500 athletes and team officials from 71 nations and territories will take part in 17 sports.

1.3 While the Games themselves are likely to generate excitement, since the bidding phase there has also been an emphasis on the positive and lasting benefits that could be achieved for both Scotland and Glasgow. These benefits are often collectively described as the 'legacy'.

1.4 In 2009, the Scottish Government and national partners developed a Scotland-wide games legacy plan setting out their collective ambitions for achieving a lasting legacy for Scotland. This covers a ten-year period to 2019 and is set around four national themes:

  • Flourishing - using the Games to contribute to the growth of the Scottish economy.
  • Active - using the Games to help Scots be more physically active.
  • Connected - using the Games to strengthen connections at home and internationally through culture and learning.
  • Sustainable - using the Games to demonstrate environmental responsibility and help communities live more sustainably.

1.5 The Scottish Government and partners are leading the national evaluation of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Legacy, with the support of the Games Legacy Evaluation Working Group (GLEWG). As part of this evaluation, we are committed to understanding the lessons learned in relation to previous Games. The evidence review has also helped us focus our evaluation questions and guided our research design.

Structure of the review

1.6 The review is structured around the four national themes and discusses evidence in relation to the outcomes that the Games hope to achieve (see Review Protocol in the Appendix).

1.7 Since our original review, a significant volume of academic and policy literature on the London 2012 Olympics has been published. Although it is still too early to draw any firm conclusions about the long term legacy of London 2012, we discuss the evidence that currently exists.


Email: Social Research

Back to top