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Australia has been highly successful in attracting and hosting many of the world’s highest profile sporting events, and with the awarding of the 2032 Brisbane Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games there is a unique opportunity to develop evidence-based legacy outcomes and systems.

To have the greatest chance of success, legacy planning must be incorporated into every stage of the bid lifecycle, engage a wide variety of stakeholders, and be integrated into the event delivery.

The bidding life cycle

The life cycle of a major international sporting event incorporates several key phases.

Legacy planning

The proposed ongoing community benefits and effects from hosting events are a key aspect of the event life cycle.

Measuring the impact of events

There are various methodologies that have been used to measure the impact of events.


As part of the bidding process major events owners, such as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Fédération internationale de football association (FIFA), highlight the significant requirements for countries/cities seeking the events to be able to manage large scale security and risk management operations.

There are several categories of risk that need to be managed including:

  • Deliberate events (e.g. physical or cyber terrorism or ransom threats)
  • Communicable diseases (e.g. respiratory illnesses, viruses (Zika, COVID19, norovirus), sexually transmitted infections).
  • Environmental conditions (e.g. extreme heat or cold, heavy storms, flooding, pollution, poor air quality).
  • Event population dynamics (e.g. crowd behaviour, temporary population increases putting pressure on local services). 10

Planning for these contingencies involves the bid city/ies as well as local, state/territory and national governments in order to provide the level of cross-sector planning and budget required for major events.

Major sporting events, such as the Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games, world championships, and major tournaments (e.g. football, tennis or cricket) are familiar with implementing robust security and risk management to the point where millions—or billions as in the case of the Olympic and Paralympic Games—of dollars are spent for security of events. 11

However, it may now be the case that less prestigious sporting events will have to implement much tighter security and risk management, at a cost, due to the threats of terrorism, pandemics and climate change.

Event examples

  1. Managing Major Sports Events: Theory and Practice, Milena M. Parent, Aurélia Ruetsch, Routledge, (2021).
  2. Major sporting events, Australian Government, Office for Sport, (accessed 12 January 2023).
  3. Legacy Strategic Approach: moving forward, International Olympic Committee, (December 2017).
  4. Olympic Games Framework: produced for the 2024 Olympic Games, International Olympic Committee, (May 2015).
  5. Event impact standards, International Association of Event Hosts, (accessed 13 January 2023).
  6. Leveraging sporting events to create sport participation: a case study of the 2016 Youth Olympic Games, Svein Erik Nordhagen, International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, Volume 13(3), (March 2021).
  7. An evidence-based assessment of the impact of the Olympic Games on population levels of physical activity, Adrian Bauman, Masamitsu Kamada, Rodrigo Reis, et al., The Lancet, Volume 398(10298), pp.456-464, (July-August 2021).
  8. Sport participation from sport events: why it doesn’t happen? Marijke Taks, B. Chris Green, Laura Misener,, Marketing Intelligence and Planning, Volume 36(2), pp.185-198, (2018).
  9. Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 Legacy Impact Report, England Netball, (July 2020).
  10. Stepping Up to the Plate: Planning for a Lasting Health Legacy from Major Sporting Events, Didi Thompson, Steve McAteer, Nicolette Davies, et al., World Innovation Summit for Health, (November 2020).
  11. The Economics of Hosting the Olympic Games, James McBride, Melissa Manno, Council on Foreign Relations, (14 December 2021).
  12. FIFA Women's World Cup 2023: Overview of the bidding process, FIFA, (March 2019).

Last updated: 13 January 2023
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