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Strategic leveraging: evidences of small-scale sport events

Elsa Pereira (Department of Sport Sciences, University of Algarve, Faro, Portugal)
Margarida Mascarenhas (University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal)
Adão Flores (University of Algarve, Faro, Portugal)
Laurence Chalip (Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, USA)
Gustavo Pires (University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal)

International Journal of Event and Festival Management

ISSN: 1758-2954

Article publication date: 30 July 2019

Issue publication date: 16 March 2020



The purpose of this paper is to identify the strategic leveraging goals associated with a portfolio of small-scale events and to analyze their implementation process (actors/tactics: who did what?) in order to propose new leverage typologies through new empirical research evidence.


Three techniques of data collection conducted the fieldwork: qualitative interviewing, direct observation and documental research. Based on the principles of grounded theory and using qualitative data analysis software (Nvivo) data were inductively analyzed.


Results showed the coexistence of a plurality of strategic leveraging goals, namely: “strengthen political advantage”; “integrate and retain partners/sponsors”; and “develop sports dynamics”. There was a set of tactics and actions identified and successfully implemented due to the coordination of the network of organizations part of the events, which included local and external actors.

Research limitations/implications

Researchers realized that it was impossible to take a neutral research stand. In fact, in qualitative research, the investigator is the first instrument of data collection. In this sense, it was important for researchers to constantly reflect on their role, as Pelias (2011) says “reflexive writing strategies include indicating how the researcher emerged as a contaminant, how the researcher´s insider status was revelatory or blinding, and how the researcher is implicated in the problem being addressed” (p. 662). It is also considered that, when organizing events, the network of interactions is extremely complex, making it difficult to capture all the actors’ perspectives.

Practical implications

In relation to the practical implications, it is important that sports event managers have in-depth knowledge and skills on event leveraging; it is also important that managers understand the sports culture in order to recognize the multidimensionality of strategic leveraging in sporting events. The strategic dynamic should be developed and coevolved with community/local and external actors. The coordination between the actors is a key point to achieve successful leveraging.

Social implications

A theoretical implication related to the event leverage is the creation of a new strategic objective – “developing the sport dynamics”. The sport participation tactic among other tactics were found, namely “enhancing of the sports shows” and “tuning of skills in sports management”.


The dynamics and plurality of strategic goals associated with the leverage of an event portfolio, namely the actions that were developed and also the actors’ interaction in small-scale events. Another factor is the identification of the prominent role of the external event organization committee in the dynamics of event leveraging, as well as the deep analysis of the leveraging process supported by the observation of all the events.



This paper is financed by National Funds provided by FCT – Foundation for Science and Technology – through project UID/SOC/04020/2013.


Pereira, E., Mascarenhas, M., Flores, A., Chalip, L. and Pires, G. (2020), "Strategic leveraging: evidences of small-scale sport events", International Journal of Event and Festival Management, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 69-88.



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