Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


LegacieSocialCapGR — Result In Brief

Project ID: 302925
Funded under: FP7-PEOPLE
Country: Greece

Impact of major sports events on society

An EU-funded project has demonstrated the impact of sporting mega events on social capital in Greece. The study complements a relatively poor existing literature and offers knowledge through theoretical research and an in-depth study.
Impact of major sports events on society
The impacts of sporting mega events are usually measured in economic and political terms. However, the legacies of such events should also be measured in terms of their social impact, or ‘social capital’. The LEGACIESOCIALCAPGR (An evaluation of the legacies of sporting mega events on social capital in Greece) project has filled this gap Specifically, effects on two groups were monitored – volunteers and immigrants.

Overall, the research contributes to the global literature on sport and social capital by bringing some interesting conclusions about the volunteering ethos that exists amongst the different groups studied.

Findings illustrate that volunteers are more actively engaged with decision-making of the clubs or organisations they are members of. They offer volunteering on a regular basis and are socially active, which contributes to the development of social capital, as studies have shown.

Project results also show that runners demonstrate a high level of trust towards other citizens, but less towards politicians, and social connectedness. However, they are less actively engaged in decision-making and participation but demonstrate a higher degree of interaction with people from different backgrounds.

People registered in a sports club or a public gym are more engaged in collective action than people registered in a private gym or not exercising at all. In both cases the values aren’t particularly high, although these improve when it comes to sports volunteering, particularly for the people registered in a sports club.

The sense of belonging increases for all groups that attend local sports events. More generally, the relationship between sporting events and social capital is described as multi-layered and complex.

The knowledge generated from this study is helpful for countries in times of crisis, such as Greece. It could mobilise top-down national or local governments, or bottom-up voluntary and other groups to develop sports events, like the ‘Athens Marathon’, enhancing social capital.

For maximised impact, results were presented in eight academic conferences and 13 invited talks in three and six different countries respectively. The articles presented were also set to be published in academic journals. Finally, a one-day conference was organised with panel debates and invited professors from diverse academic backgrounds.

Related information


Sporting Mega events, social capital, volunteers, immigrants
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