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Sport is a powerful soft power asset. Major sporting events present opportunities to showcase Australia and build our international reputation and relationships through sport, public, and cultural diplomacy. 2

Australia's ability to host successful major events, such as the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the 2015 Asian Football Championship, and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games projects a positive image of the country and can be seen as signalling competence, outside of any direct economic analysis.

International reputation

By promoting positive views of Australia and highlighting our reputation for excellence we can generate flow on benefits for business, trade, investment, tourism, and more.


The role of major sports events in raising the profile of cities and countries, and bringing visitors to an area is recognised and cultivated as part of most event plans and evaluations.

Media, broadcasting, and communication

Broadcasting and other media channels are a key part of major sporting events and can be used to help engage viewers with other legacy outcomes.



The United Kingdom (UK), and in particular the City of London, capitalised on hosting the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which were viewed extremely positively internationally and led to a perception that London was a good place to do business.

  • Between 2012 and 2016 London hosted over 30 large-scale sporting events delivering an estimated £1.023 billion to the London economy. 17
  • Hosting the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games helped Scotland attract and secure 37 further high profile national and international events, with an estimated economic impact of £14 million. 14
  • 97% of fans who attended the 2017 IAAF World Athletics and World Para-Athletics Championships agreed that the events showed London to be a positive, vibrant city 18
  • Between 91 and 95% felt that the 2017 IAAF events had a positive effect on London communities. 18
  1. Promoting a Strategic Approach to EU Sports Diplomacy: Final report Richard Parrish, Antoine Duval, Silvija Mitevska, et al., Co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, (December 2021).
  2. Sports Diplomacy 2030, Australian Government, Department of Health, (2019).
  3. Major Sporting Events overview, Austrade, (accessed 17 January 2023).
  4. Commonwealth Games Value Framework: Final report, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for the Commonwealth Games Federation, (December 2019).
  5. Community Perceptions Survey 2017: Research Report, Essence Communications, (2017).
  6. Mega-events and place branding legacy for emerging economies, Brendon Knott, Kamilla Swart, Chapter 9 in Legacies and Mega Events, Routledge, (2017).
  7. State of the Industry 2018-2019, Austrade, (March 2020).
  8. State of the Industry 2021, Tourism Research Australia, Austrade, (2022).
  9. Sport tourism: an ever-growing sector with high potential for cities, Young Hoon Kim, John Nauright, smart cities and sport, (3 July 2021).
  10. “Winning the women’s world cup”: gender, branding, and the Australia/New Zealand As One 2023 social media strategy for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™, Adam Beissel, Verity Postlethwaite, Andrew Grainger, Sport in Society, Volume 25(4), pp.768-798, (2022).
  11. Sport mega-events and the media, Kamilla Swart, Michael Linley, Gift Muresherwa, Chapter 15 in Legacies and Mega Events, Routledge, (2017).
  12. World Cup 2022: Qatar is accused of ‘sportswashing’ but do the fans really care? Argyro Elisavet Manoli, The Conversation, (21 November 2022).
  13. Post-Games Sustainability Report, Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation, (August 2018).
  14. Glasgow 2014 XX Commonwealth Games Post-Games Report, Commonwealth Games Federation, (2014).
  15. Invictus Games Sydney 2018 - Game On Down Under Event Review, Australian International Military Games Limited, (2018).
  16. Media, eventIMPACTS ToolKit, (accessed 30 January 2023).
  17. London four years on: a global host for sport, London & Partners, (July 2016).
  18. London 2017: Key Stats Infographic, London and Partners, (2017).

Last updated: 06 February 2023
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