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International sports organisations - Appraising the costs and benefits of sporting events


Prospective candidate cities considering whether or not to host large international sports events need to be able to weigh up the potential costs and benefits. Under scrutiny from tax payers, candidate cities need to understand whether investing government resources in these events represent value for money.

To provide a credible response to this challenge, an international sports organisation commissioned us to develop a framework for assessing the costs and benefits of public spending on these events and apply this framework to interpret the available evidence.

What we did

We developed a framework based on a holistic view of the actual and anticipated returns to the investment of public resources in hosting an event.

It is based on three core principles:

  • All relevant public spending - capital and operational - should be identified and categorised
  • All impacts of the spending should be described based on a set of ‘theories of change’ which trace how each element of spend drives benefits and / or costs compared to what would have happened otherwise
  • The costs and benefits should be assessed in a structured way that captured a holistic range of impacts

Client benefits

We prepared a report that summarised the framework and our analysis of existing evidence. The report supports conversations with prospective hosts and key stakeholders, including the public.

Overall, our analysis showed that the economic benefits associated with hosting a large international sports event were greater than the core public spending required to deliver the event. Social, environmental and sports benefits were often not quantified.

Contact us

Nick Forrest

Nick Forrest

UK Economics Consulting Leader, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7803 617744

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