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Mega-Events, Sport Legacies and Sociologically Informed Impact Assessment

Sport, Social Development and Peace

ISBN: 978-1-78350-885-3, eISBN: 978-1-78350-886-0

ISSN: 1476-2854

Publication date: 17 July 2014



While discourse abounds regarding the potential impacts of sports mega events on host cities, existing ideologies about, strategies for, and systematic examinations of “legacy” effects are poorly understood. This chapter presents a sociological examination of the sport mega-event legacy measurement process.


In this chapter, we reflect on our own involvement in legacy evaluation in the context of the 2015 Pan/Parapan Am Games in Toronto to examine existing legacy measurement strategies, review their findings, and present a theoretical detour via the past for consideration in future sociological contributions to the legacy measurement process.


Data discussed in this chapter suggest a need for the creation of a more sociologically informed, methodologically robust and piecemeal rather than Utopian-oriented “report card” measurement device for legacy evaluation.

Practical implications

Based on the review of evidence, we contend that if sociologists of sport remain committed to keeping their roles, as public intellectuals, applied researchers or participatory activists in the sport for development/legacy nexus, those involved might do so with a greater attention to focusing on what Karl Popper (1961) refers to as piecemeal social engineering strategies and measurements, and attending to those legacies both on and off the event organizing committee radar screen.



Atkinson, M. and De Lisio, A. (2014), "Mega-Events, Sport Legacies and Sociologically Informed Impact Assessment", Sport, Social Development and Peace (Research in the Sociology of Sport, Vol. 8), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 219-243.



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