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Leverage and legacy outcomes

Leverage one-off benefits

Include but are not limited to:

  • the creation of employment related to the event itself, including the up-skilling of volunteer staff
  • international exposure for New Zealand
  • opportunities for New Zealanders to experience world-class events
  • enabling communities to showcase their regions and achievements nationally and internationally
  • social cohesion and community pride
  • creating trade or investment opportunities during the event.


Legacy benefits

Include but are not limited to:

  • ongoing business or industry growth opportunities, and the creation of longer-term employment
  • the development of local, regional or national infrastructure and facilities
  • fostering key international relationships
  • growth in participation and high achievement in the field to which the event relates
  • encouraging participation in sporting or artistic pursuits.


Event capability benefits

Include but are not limited to:

  • building event organisation skills
  • extending or improving systems and knowledge relating to event delivery
  • increasing the available pool of trained volunteers
  • growing the skills of the volunteers
  • enhancing New Zealand’s reputation as a destination for major events.


Potential benefits

The positive socioeconomic benefits that flow from hosting a major sporting, arts or cultural event are not just fringe benefits or opportune side effects, they can be the main reasons for hosting the event in the first place.

Leverage and legacy benefits can manifest in many different forms and event organisers should consider how to develop their event to maximise leverage and legacy benefits in the areas set out below:

  • Economic – direct economic benefits such as increased tourism revenue (i.e. bed nights and visitor spend) or spend by international event organisers/promoters.
  • Social – fostering social wellbeing and national pride, building social cohesion and community spirit, encouraging participation in sporting, artistic or creative activities, providing opportunities for New Zealanders to experience world-class events.
  • Regional and community development - enabling communities to showcase their regions and achievements nationally and internationally. Strong local involvement can help to make the overall experience have a more holistic atmosphere and be easier for people to identify with and want to feel part of an event.
  • Cultural – increasing awareness and understanding of different cultures, promoting cultural values such as discipline, fairness and respect for others.
  • Educational – providing opportunities for local schools or sports clubs involvement, developing educational programmes for schools that promote sporting or cultural values and disciplines and provide opportunities to learn about other countries and cultures.
  • Volunteers - increasing the available pool of trained volunteers and growing their skills.
  • Environment – promoting environmental best practice, encouraging focus on sustainable event management, waste management and transport planning, improving ecological surroundings, organising environmental communication and educational activities, providing the stimulus for beautification projects.
  • Trade and investment - the creation of employment related to the event itself, ongoing business or industry growth opportunities, and the creation of longer-term employment, creating trade or investment opportunities during the event.
  • International relations – opportunity to develop key international relationships at multiple levels – political, business, sporting, cultural, creative or otherwise.
  • Brand NZ – ensuring the event aligns with New Zealand’s unique identity and the New Zealand brand, enhancing New Zealand’s reputation as a destination for major events.
  • Media and broadcast - generating international media exposure for New Zealand.
  • Event sector capability building and event attraction - enhancing New Zealand’s reputation as a destination for major events, building additional event governance and management skills, extending or improving systems and knowledge relating to event delivery; increasing the pool of trained professionals and growing their skills.
  • Infrastructure - the development of local, regional or national infrastructure and facilities.
  • Sport legacy (both high performance and participation) – high achievement in the field to which the event relates (an event should be strategically aligned to a sport’s key high performance strategies) and growth in participation (an event should look at ways to focus on building adult and/or youth participation).



To ensure the legacy and leverage benefits are achieved, a leverage and legacy committee or working group should be established to share information, ideas, strategies and tactics, so that the initiatives and activities are aligned and focused on achieving common goals. This sits alongside the event proper.

The group should include representatives from key stakeholder groups, including:

  • the New Zealand sporting code or the sporting, artistic or cultural group that is hosting the event
  • the event governance group
  • event management team
  • local, regional and central government
  • other funding partners.


Each member of the group should have a clear view of what their organisation wants to achieve from the event and take ownership and responsibility for the delivery of the benefits relevant to their organisation.

Consider appointing a senior member of the event management team to sit on the committee (this helps to convey the importance of the long-term goals and can in term drive planning) and they should then be tasked with championing the cause for the various leverage and legacy initiatives within the event management team. However, the event management team must not be considered solely responsible for the achievement of the legacy objectives even though they are often in the best position to facilitate the integration and monitoring of the various activities.

Involvement of the event management team is important, however it must not distract them from their core duty of delivering the event – no matter how good a leverage and legacy plan is, it will not derive full value unless the event is an operational success.

Lasting legacy benefits are only going to be realised if a collaborative approach is taken to leverage and legacy planning. We strongly recommend that a detailed leverage and legacy committee terms of reference document is developed which clearly articulates:

  • the vision and objectives of the event itself
  • the purpose of the leverage and legacy committee
  • key partner organisations
  • committee personnel (including identifying a chair of the committee)
  • committee member responsibilities
  • committee chair responsibilities
  • high level work plan, including next steps
  • reporting schedule





Once a leverage and legacy committee has been established, their main task is to lead the development of a leverage and legacy plan and oversee the implementation and monitoring of the plan and associated activities.


Developing the leverage and legacy plan

The committee should focus on determining:

  • how to use the event as a platform to generate ideas and action around the event itself; and
  • how it can ensure the event will generate sizeable, direct economic, social and cultural or international exposure benefits (in particular those that align with government or other funders’ objectives).


The committee should work toward:

  • an agreed joint strategy and action plan
  • identifying dedicated resources to make sure the plan happens and determining which organisations will provide these resources
  • developing a process for monitoring and supporting the achievement of the strategy as it is implemented.


Begin by identifying a legacy vision or set of objectives that align with the vision and objectives of the event itself. The legacy vision must then be supported by a clear and actionable plan which should clearly articulate:

  • the specific activities
  • the desired outcomes
  • the personnel and/or organisations responsible for each legacy activity
  • relevant timings and
  • key performance indicators or measures.


It is important to acknowledge the positive and negative nature of legacies (with a view to maximising positive and limiting negative legacy outcomes). It also needs to be acknowledged that legacies may be subject to perception, and that two stakeholders may take different view points on the same legacy outcome. A strategic approach to identifying and managing stakeholder objectives is necessary to ensure that legacies can be realised not only for the host city, but the wider region and nation. As each event stakeholder has its own agenda, they will all need to work cooperatively to achieve the desired legacy outcomes for the event.

Key considerations to be mindful of when developing a leverage and legacy plan:

  • Consult, engage and enable as many people as possible to contribute
  • There has to be strong buy-in from the event management board, leadership and operational staff
  • Key stakeholder support for building a lasting legacy is crucial to planning and recruiting resources
  • The legacy programme must fit into a wider national or regional agenda for social and economic development
  • Community involvement is critical, a legacy programme can kick-start the process, but community leaders and citizens will drive lasting social change.





Implementing the leverage and legacy plan

The legacy plan should be implemented, monitored and managed with the same rigor as the event programme.

An effective legacy programme begins with getting buy-in from all interested parties including political and community leaders – ranging from high-ranking central government officials and local government bodies to corporate CEOs and community organisations and clubs.

Ensuring a successful legacy depends on how well a nation or city mobilises its citizens.

  • Consider involving well-known, effervescent, passionate and energetic local people capable of leading and inspiring those around them.
  • The most effective mobilisation efforts go beyond publicity to actively engaging communities in identifying the social and economic programmes that will have the biggest impact at a local level.
  • It is the local communities that will take these programmes forward to create the lasting legacy.

It is important to actively and continuously promote the legacy vision so the public and other key stakeholders do not lose interest.


Monitoring, measuring and reporting

Careful and thorough monitoring, measurement and reporting of legacy outcomes is important and can provide accountability and transparency for stakeholders and a solid framework to enable parties to work towards achieving meaningful legacy outcomes.

Establish key metrics for each stakeholder group with defined objectives and measures.

For example, in the case of a sports organisation two specific legacy objectives may be:

  1. increase sports’ participation; and
  2. raise the profile of the sports organisation

with equivalent defined measures of:

  1. 12% increase in local sports club membership; and
  2. 10 substantial media articles positively promoting the relevant sporting organisation.

An economic impact assessment should be carried out after the event but this alone is not enough, often the intangible and emotional factors that contribute to the success of an event are overlooked.

Consider gathering feedback from visitors, community groups, sponsors, local businesses, local residents, event organisers and suppliers.

Qualitative feedback around the overall experience is as essential as measuring the economic data. In addition, the stories and comments can be used in a variety of ways after the event.




Last updated 5 May 2016