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The Impact of London 2012 Olympic games on Community Based Sport in the UK: The role of NGBS in leveraging a participation legacy

Hayday, Emily Jane (2017) The Impact of London 2012 Olympic games on Community Based Sport in the UK: The role of NGBS in leveraging a participation legacy. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:61594)

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of a Sports Mega Event (SME), the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games, and the specific legacy objective that was set to increase grass-root sports participation. This research aimed to investigate the leveraging processes that were used to try to achieve this objective, through National Governing Bodies (NGBs) who were outlined by Sport England (SE) as the main delivery agent to support the participation initiatives associated to the London 2012 Games (Sport England, 2008). Through the community sports delivery system, NGBs have a network of Voluntary Sports Clubs (VSCs) that were utilised as the main delivery agents across the country.

The theory of policy implementation was applied to investigate the processes and practices involved for these organisations both 'top down' (NGBs) and 'bottom up' (VSCs), to better understand their attitudes and experiences surrounding the London 2012 Games. Governance of sports organisations is highly correlated to the process of policy implementation within NGBs and their associated networks. The top-down and bottom-up implementation processes, mirror the modification within the governance literature, through an attrition of governmental power, policy delivery and governance shifted towards a bottom-up approach through partnerships and networks (Bevir and Rhodes, 2006; Grix, 2010).

This was investigated through two main studies, firstly through a multi case study design, with four non-popular English sports. This study took a bottom-up approach, in which 32 interviews were undertaken primarily with the VSCs (n=25), the delivery agents of the participation objective, then additionally with NGB head office staff (n=7) to investigate their opinions of the legacy implementation process within their sport surrounding the legacy objectives. The significance of investigating these non-popular sports, related to the distinctive opportunity that a home Olympic and Paralympic Games provided them.

The second study involved a top-down analysis with NGB senior managers, to gain an insight into how they perceive SMEs and the impact this had on leveraging and implementation strategies, which aimed to increase sports participation. An exploratory, in-depth, mixed method online survey was conducted post London 2012 and 105 responses were received from NGB senior and regional managers. These responses accounted for 37 out of 46 Sport England funded sports producing an extensive representative sample within the sector. This provided a more comprehensive understanding of the sports delivery system and the elements that are involved in legacy production.

Results provided new insights into the specific attitudes and significant role that these key stakeholders involved with the legacy production process have, which up to this point has been missing within the academic discourse. Across both studies issues surrounding communication, VSC engagement and attitudes were noted, relating to the importance of building partnerships at both a national and local level and the benefits of social media as a leveraging strategy. Principally, NGBs need to ensure they involve Voluntary Sports Clubs (VSCs) in the SMEs planning stages and the current top-down implementation process is leading to a fragmented delivery system. To limit this, NGBs need to develop a clearer understanding of their VSCs characteristics across their network, as findings highlighted the negative feelings and misuse of some clubs, reducing the efficiency of legacy creation.

Thus, by allowing flexibility for informal legacies to emerge and by providing support to VSC stakeholders that may need up-skilling, the SMEs can be capitalised on effectively. Results highlighted that external media had a greater impact on participation and interest, than individual participation programmes for VSCs. Valuable findings emerged throughout the thesis and resulted in beneficial recommendations for future SMEs hosts. Critical Realism (CR) was used as a guiding philosophical perspective to aid understanding and analysis of leveraging and legacy conceptualisation.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Pappous, Athanasios (Sakis)
Thesis advisor: Koutrou, Niki
Uncontrolled keywords: Legacy; leveraging; sports mega events; sports participation; Olympic Games; critical realism; quantitative and qualitative research; national governing bodies; voluntary sports clubs; organisational communication; club engagement; policy implementation.
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Sport and Exercise Sciences
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 02 May 2017 15:00 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 16:07 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Hayday, Emily Jane.

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