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Sport development in challenging times: leverage of sports events for legacy in disadvantaged communities

Bell, Barbara and Daniels, John (2019) Sport development in challenging times: leverage of sports events for legacy in disadvantaged communities. Managing Sport and Leisure. ISSN 2375-0472

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Abstract

This research project focused on legacy around the 2016 BMX World SuperCross event held in Manchester at the National Cycling Centre. In the current social, political and economic climate, the consideration of wider impacts of major events have come under increasing scrutiny. There has been an increasingly critical debate about social benefits, sporting and community impacts, methods to achieve increases in sport participation and event legacy. This paper considers the impacts on people, processes and practice, or ‘soft legacy’ of the event, through the realistic evaluation of two BMX projects which were based on hosting of the BMX World Cup event. The impact of attempts to leverage social and sport development impacts, in particularly challenging circumstances and communities are highlighted, applying a Realistic Evaluation framework (Pawson and Tilley, 1997) on two programmes. Results showed that though the programme of Street BMX was successful in reaching over 500 participant as planned, there was no evidence of transition into BMX community track sessions. In the targeted event-based programme there were positive benefits to the participants, but limited impact on their educational outcomes. This paper highlights the implications for those planning event-based sport development interventions attempting to engage hard-pressed communities.

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