The elusive “trickle-down effect” of sport events: Assumptions and missed opportunities

Laura Misener, Marijke Taks, Laurence Chalip, B. Christine Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The claimed benefits of sport events on sport participation rely on an asserted “trickle-down effect”. There is a lack of empirical evidence that events can trigger increased physical activity and sport participation, and research has focused on large-scale events. This paper compares two previously hosted medium-sized sport events, and examines the degree to which local (sport) organizations and local organizing committees (LOC) endeavoured to leverage each sport event for sport participation purposes. Document analysis and semi-structured interviews revealed overarching assumptions that the events in and of themselves were sufficient to engender participation outcomes. Strategies for leveraging were absent, and only a few tactics were identified. Leverage could come from augmented exposure via amplified media, celebrations, further demonstrations of the sport, and teaching about the sport. A key constraint is identifying who should be responsible for implementing and executing the leveraging strategy and tactics. The findings inform various stakeholders – event organizers, sport organizations, and local communities, to find ways to use events as a lever for sport participation by making it a part of their overall marketing efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-156
Number of pages22
JournalManaging Sport and Leisure
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015


  • Legacy
  • Leverage
  • Sport event
  • Sport participation
  • Strategy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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