Crowd of people at an event


Major events are often intrinsically linked to the locations and places in which they are staged. People's perceptions of an event may therefore elicit a strong impact on their perceptions of the place in which it is hosted. Importantly this does not just apply to visitors to the event but also to local residents, whose perception of the place as somewhere to live or work may be altered by an event. With local and regional authorities becoming increasingly active bodies in terms of supporting the staging of major events, the ability of an event to change people’s perceptions of place are more important than ever.

As with other impact areas, the measurement of identity, image and place should be linked into the specific aims and objectives of the event and its stakeholders. 



National and civic pride are particularly important in times of economic uncertainty and help to reinforce our resilience.1  Events are often cited by event organisers and promoters as catalysts for improving local residents' self-image of the community in which they live and for making a positive contribution to their quality of life.  Research has shown that hosting a major event can have a significant impact on national pride.2

Pride - Event Attendees

If civic/national pride is an important outcome to event organisers then, at a basic level, we recommend that the evaluation of pride should focus specifically on event attendees (e.g. spectators) residing in the host area and/or nation. This can be expressed in terms of the percentage of such attendees who report that an event has:

  • had a positive impact on their local community;
  • promoted a sense of pride in how they feel about where they live; and/or
  • projected a positive image of the place as a good place to live, do business and visit.

    It is relatively straightforward to capture the data required for these indicators using either a face-to-face survey of attendees during an event or via a post event survey should contact details of attendees be available to organisers.     

    As part of the research undertaken with spectators at seven UK Sport funded sports events in 2014 which utilised a face-to-face survey, local attendees were asked whether they felt proud that the event was being staged in the host area.  Responses to the statement "I feel proud that [the host area] is staging [the event]" were captured on a five point scale (strongly agree - agree - disagree - strongly disagree - don't know).  Civic pride was subsequently measured in terms of the proportion of strongly agree/agree responses.  At these events, UK spectators (including those residing in the host area) were also asked if they felt proud about the event being held in the UK.  The table below illustrates that the vast majority of local and UK respondents reported a sense of pride.

    Civic and national pride statistics from selected sports events (% of local/UK respondents who reported that they felt proud about the event being held in the host area/UK)


    Civic Pride

    National Pride

    Diving World Series 2014



    Triathlon World Series 2014



    Canoe Slalom World Cup 2014



    IPC Athletics European Championships 2014



    World Taekwondo Grand Prix 2014



    Wheelchair Tennis Masters 2014



    Track Cycling World Cup 2014



    Source: SIRC/UK Sport

    Enhanced Image/Reputation


    This dimension of the identity and image theme relates to impact that an event has on enhancing the image or reputation of a place from the perspective of people residing outside the host area/nation.  This may occur as a result of people visiting the host area/nation to attend an event, or as a consequence of an event being broadcast to audiences in domestic and overseas territories.  The latter is particularly relevant to large scale events where host areas and venues receive considerable media exposure.


    Enhanced Image/Reputation - Event Attendees

    Assuming that enhancing the image of a place is important to event stakeholders, data from event attendees can be collected at or following an event in order to quantify the proportion of non-local people who report that an event:

    • had a positive effect on their perception of the host area;
    • has had a positive effect on their decision to re-visit the host area and recommend the place to others; and/or
    • enhanced their perception of the host area as a good area to live, visit and do business.

    Some recommended sample questions to pose to event attendees from outside the host area for assessing these indicators are outlined below.  The questions can be customised to reflect the location in which an event is held and the aspects of interest to event stakeholders.

    • Have your experiences of this event left you with a more positive perception of the HOST AREA (e.g. city, region, country) as an EVENT / VISITOR destination?
    • Based on your experiences of this event, how likely are you to return to the HOST AREA for a short break or for leisure in the NEXT YEAR?
    • Based on your experiences of this event, how likely are you to recommend the HOST AREA as a PLACE TO VISIT to friends and family?

    Questions relating to someone's intention to revisit a host area within a certain timeframe after an event's conclusion have been well used at major sports events.  For example, spectator surveys undertaken at The Ryder Cup 2014 found that:

    • Some 68% of spectators visiting Scotland were likely to return in the next year for a short break or leisure, based on experiences during their trip to The Ryder Cup. 
    • 84% of visitors to Scotland would recommend Scotland to friends and family as a visitor destination.

    Similar questions were also asked by the Commonwealth Games 2014 Visitor Impact Study survey, according to which3:

    • 57% of visitors who lived outside Glasgow stated that they would ‘definitely’ return to the city in the next 5 years.
    • 32% of visitors who had not been to Glasgow stated that they would definitely return to the city in the next 5 years.

    Data from some major events in London at which questions linked to image/reputation have been employed is shown in the table below.  The relevant questions at these events were presented as a series of statements and respondents residing outside London were asked to express their level of agreement/disagreement with each statement.

    Percentage who strongly agreed or agreed with the statement about each indicator



    Diving World Series 2014

    Triathlon World Series 2014

    Wheelchair Tennis Masters 2014

    World Triathlon Grand Final 2013

    My visit to this event has enhanced my image of London as a visitor destination





    My visit to this event means that I am more likely to visit London for a short-break or holiday in the next 2 years





    My visit to this event means that I am more likely to recommend London as a place to visit to my friends & family





    Source: SIRC / UK Sport


    Some of these indicators provide an insight into the potential longer term impacts of an event on tourism.  Whether or not such visits materialise requires longitudinal follow-up research.  This is not recommended for small or medium sized events but is something that stakeholders associated with larger events might perhaps be interested in.




    Intermediate Measures

    • Pride - non event attendees
    • Enhanced image/reputation - non event attendees

    Pride - Non Event Attendees

    For larger events, it may be appropriate to broaden the scope of the evaluation to include non-attendees residing in the host area/UK and focus on different time periods before, during and after an event.  Data collection with non-attendees could be facilitated using questions on citizens' panels, social media platforms or omnibus surveys.  An omnibus survey includes a stratified sample of the population and questions on the same survey can be bought by organisations and the costs shared.  Research agencies such as YouGov, Ipsos MORI and GfK run regular UK surveys for clients to get answers to their questions, at the right price, when they most need them.

    Multiple waves of an omnibus survey of adults and young people were utilised between 2012 and 2015 as part of an evaluation of the 2014 Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow to assess changes over time in the pride expressed by Scottish residents.  Some pride-related prompts and statistics from the Commonwealth Games evaluation are presented in the table below. 1

    Pride among Scottish residents regarding the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games









    I will be/am/was proud that Glasgow/Scotland is hosting/hosted this event





    People who live in Scotland will feel/felt proud





    Young People

    I was proud that Glasgow/Scotland was hosting the event






    Source: TNS Opinion Survey, Ipsos MORI Young People in Scotland Survey 2014

    At an even more advanced level, a monetary equivalent estimate of the intrinsic benefit that local residents perceive they receive as a result of hosting an event - otherwise known as 'psychic income' - can be derived using economic techniques such as contingent valuation'.  For example, one study explored the willingness of citizens in three UK cities to host the 2012 Olympic Games and found the average willingness to pay (WTP) was highest among Londoners at £22, about twice as much as in Manchester and Glasgow, and was around £2 billion for the UK population as a whole.3



    Enhanced Image/Reputation - Non Event Attendees

    Should event stakeholders be interested in examining whether an event has an impact on the image or reputation of the host area on individuals beyond those who attend, then other methods can be employed.  For example, for an event held in London, data collection with non-attendees from other parts of the UK could be facilitated using questions on omnibus surveys.  This type of research can be cost prohibitive and is best reserved for larger events.  Tools such as the Nation Brands Index, City Brand Index and Ultimate Sports Cities Index are also useful for larger events to look up how the international reputation of a nation or a city has changed over time e.g. before and after hosting an event.