Sport events and strategic leveraging: Pushing towards the triple bottom line

Danny O'Brien*, Laurence Chalip

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

170 Citations (Scopus)


Sport events are capable of generating considerable short-term, visitation-related benefits for host communities; and a great deal of research explores the economic impacts of sport events. However, this chapter recognizes that a paradigm shift is underway in parts of the international events community. While short-term economic gains remain important, some event stakeholders now look beyond 'impact' to focus on achieving more long-term, sustainable outcomes. This move away from an ex post, outcomes orientation towards an ex ante, strategic approach to event benefits refers to the phenomenon of event leveraging. The authors argue that if sport events are to be sustainable, and are to retain the public and private support upon which they rely, then promised benefits must be cultivated through strategic leverage. This chapter provides an introduction to the literature on event leveraging and also proposes new directions that aim at meeting the triple bottom line of economic, social and environmental benefits for the host communities of sport events. The chapter first reviews the literature on economic leverage. The chapter then addresses how the liminality commonly produced at sport events can be treated as a leveraging resource to create opportunities for social change in host communities. This area is new territory in the events literature and a model for social leverage is proposed. Following this, reflections on how sport events might also be leveraged for environment benefits are made. The authors note the synergies among economic, social and environmental leverage, and conclude with both challenges and notes of caution for the international events community regarding the issue of event leverage.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTourism Management: Analysis, Behaviour and Strategy
PublisherCABI Publishing
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9781845933234
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes


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