Over the next couple of years, Canada is preparing to host some incredible mega sporting events, including the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto and the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in six different host cities across the country (Edmonton, Montreal, Vancouver, Moncton, Ottawa, and Winnipeg). This is an exciting time for Canada and an excellent opportunity to create a lasting legacy within our country. In terms of legacy, there are some important questions that need to be considered such as: What legacy opportunities are going to occur before, during, and after these large-scale events? Will Canada make the most out of hosting these mega sporting events in order to ensure a positive impact for our country? What will the overall legacy of these games be?
In the context of major sporting events, legacy is often defined as, “Irrespective of the time of production and space, legacy is all planned and unplanned, positive and negative, tangible and intangible structures created for and by a sport event that remains longer than the event itself” (Preuss, 2010).
Within this definition, there are also various different types of legacies that can surround major sporting events, including (Cornelissen, Bob, Swart, 2014):
Often, when countries are hosting a major sporting event, they get consumed by the excitement and immediate preparation for the event. They lose sight of the long-term objectives that were the main reason for pursuing the event in the first place. Therefore, focusing on the events legacy is every bit as important as the event itself. Host cities and countries should never assume that a successful event will automatically bring forth positive change and long-term benefits. Creating a positive and sustainable legacy requires extensive planning, strong leadership, and maintained commitment from all of the parties involved.
Hosting a large scale sporting event has the potential to bring about a lot of positive change if done properly, such as (Cornelissen, Bob, Swart, 2014):
Improving a countries global image
Long term economic improvement
Increased number of jobs
Improved society and social behaviors (Ex. Promoting environmental and green practices, increasing physical activity, etc.)
LEGACY EXAMPLE: 2014 COMMONWEALTH GAMES – GLASGOW, SCOTLAND
The upcoming 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland are an example of mega event legacy: http://www.legacy2014.co.uk/
Some of the positive results seen so far from Glasgow include:
There are 50 national legacy 2014 programs and counting
The games have helped Scotland secure 37 high profile national and international events
150 community sport facilities will be created across Scotland by 2016
Over 250,000 school children are benefiting from “Games on Scotland”, which is the official educational program for the games
The “Active Places Fund” has already supported over 100 projects, helping build and improve community facilities
More than 750 teachers have been trained to support disabled young people in physical education classes
Scottish companies have won 69% of contracts associated with the games
The £5M Young Person’s Fund will provide 2,500 young people with work experience
The list continues: See http://www.legacy2014.co.uk/what-is-legacy/key-facts for the complete list
In closing, a successful games should not be measured just by the event itself. It should be measured in jobs, the success of businesses, increased physical activity, improved infrastructure, environmental awareness, increased sustainable facilities, and the overall impact on the city or host countries community. Therefore, Canada needs to embrace the opportunity of hosting these mega sporting events and make them a return on investment instead of a cost.