The Olympic Games and raising sports participation: a systematic review of evidence and an interrogation of policy for a demonstration effect

Weed, M. E., Coren, E., Fiore, J., Wellard, I., Chatziefstathiou, D. and Suzanne, D. (2015) The Olympic Games and raising sports participation: a systematic review of evidence and an interrogation of policy for a demonstration effect. European Sport Management Quarterly, 15 (2). ISSN 1618-4742.

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Research questions:
Can a demonstration effect, whereby people are inspired by elite sport, sports people and events to actively participate themselves, be harnessed from an Olympic Games to influence sport participation? Did London 2012 sport participation legacy policy draw on evidence about a demonstration effect, and was a legacy delivered?

Research methods:
A worldwide systematic review of English language evidence returned 1,778 sources iteratively reduced by the author panel, on advice from an international review panel, to 21 included sources that were quality appraised and synthesised narratively. The evidence was used to examine the influence of a demonstration effect on sport participation engagement and to interrogate sport participation legacy policy for London 2012.

Results and findings:
There is no evidence for an inherent demonstration effect, but a potential demonstration effect, properly leveraged, may deliver increases in sport participation frequency and re-engage lapsed participants. Despite setting out to use London 2012 to raise sport participation, successive UK governments’ policy failures to harness the potential influence of a demonstration effect on demand resulted in failure to deliver increased participation.

If the primary justification for hosting an Olympic Games is the potential impact on sport participation, the Games are a bad investment. However, the Games can have specific impacts on sport participation frequency and re-engagement, and if these are desirable for host societies, are properly leveraged by hosts, and are one among a number of reasons for hosting the Games, then the Games may be a justifiable investment in sport participation terms.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Human and Life Sciences > Centre for Sport, Physical Education and Activity Research (SPEAR)
Depositing User: Ms Esther Coren
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2015 10:53
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2016 19:29

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00