Sports events can be a significant catalyst and drive positive change for host communities. The FIFA World Cup, Tour de France and the Olympic and Paralympic Games, among other events, are part of the world’s agenda and are powerful tools for nations, regions and cities to brand and promote themselves on the global stage. The importance of the impact of a sports event has evolved in recent years. A long-lasting positive legacy is no longer a ‘nice to have’ outcome of hosting a sports event, it is now a ‘must have’.

“(…)legacy is all planned and unplanned, positive and negative, tangible and intangible structures created for and by a sport event that remain longer than the event itself.“ (Preuss 2007

Sports events are used to promote development, encourage healthy lifestyles, enhance social cohesion, profile the host sites as tourist destinations and thus have an impact on economic growth. Legacy planning can be seen as capital investment if organisers want to maximize the positive impacts. It is a complex process and should start early to avoid leaving anything to chance.

Here are three tips that event organisers should remember when planning their event’s legacy:

Engage your stakeholders
Identifying your stakeholders is the starting point for your legacy plan and engaging them in the co-creation of the event legacy is highly recommended. The event should be seen by stakeholders (community, clubs, federations, governments, sponsors, etc.) as an opportunity to promote their own strategic goals and values. Engaging stakeholders early on ensures a maximum reach of the event legacy.

Legacy happens before, during and after the event
Rather than being considered as an afterthought, legacy planning should take place immediately. Legacy doesn’t just start at the end of the last sports competition, but starts as soon as the host decides to even bid for the event. All stages of the event life-cycle – before, during and after – have an important role to play in legacy planning and delivery.

If you don’t measure it, then it didn’t happen
Creating legacy KPI’s will help organisers to measure and monitor their strategy, because what gets measured gets done! And why not communicate the good news? Results allow organisers to proactively communicate the legacy of their event and be transparent and engaging with all stakeholders.