Definition and importance of leverage and legacy

What we mean by event leverage and legacy and why planning for it is important.

Defining leverage and legacy

Leverage and legacy are the broader and longer-lasting national and local benefits that are set in motion and then realised by an event.

There are 3 different categories of benefits that can be achieved by an event:

  1. Direct benefits
    These are benefits for the respective sport/art, region and country that will occur simply by virtue of the event taking place. In other words, the achievement of these benefits is within the scope of the current operational plan for the event so no additional specific course of action is required.
  2. Leverage opportunities
    These are the extra benefits that can be developed around the event itself. These benefits are likely to be outside the immediate scope of current planning for the event and additional action is likely to be required to maximise the benefits for the respective sport/art, region and country.
  3. Legacy opportunities
    These are the lasting or long-term benefits that can be accrued beyond the event. Exploring these opportunities requires a deliberate and focused action plan to ensure that lasting positive benefits are delivered to the respective sport/art, region and country.

In essence, the concept of leverage and legacy is all about understanding and acknowledging the broader benefits that an event can deliver to the wider community and country.

As an event organiser you should work to ensure an event is structured and managed to maximise opportunities to deliver positive and lasting changes and benefits for a region and its communities.

The importance of leverage and legacy planning

A well-structured and managed leverage and legacy plan is essential to ensuring event organisers, major partners and investors get the most out of an event. An event that achieves widespread engagement and delivers enduring benefits will receive significant coverage and live long in people’s memories.

Hosting a major event has the potential to create an enduring legacy that effectively provides the host city, region and country with new levels of global recognition and economic and social development.

Leverage and legacy opportunities need to be planned, rather than left to chance or assumed they will automatically flow from the event itself. Creating a positive and lasting legacy requires deliberate effort, strong leadership, sustained commitment and attention.

Start early

You need to integrate the concept of creating leverage and legacy into the overall vision and objectives for your event. Leverage and legacy planning needs to underpin the whole approach to the event, and start during the initial feasibility and bidding stages.

Involving community is essential

Major events have many intangible benefits and can create significant social good. The excitement of being chosen to host an event can be infused directly into communities, schools and other areas, with powerful results.

It's not only large events that can bring benefits to a city or region. Smaller events, if well planned, can often have a greater cumulative effect on a region, especially where there is a concerted effort to develop an ongoing legacy.

In addition, both large and small events can promote new ideas and behaviours such as environmental sustainability, diversity and community involvement.

Central and local government funding

It is becoming increasingly necessary for event organisers to tap into central and local government funding, due to increased competition for traditional funding sources.

Given that both central and local government are investing taxpayer or ratepayer dollars, they place a strong emphasis on maximising leverage and legacy opportunities that will provide both benefits to the community and country as a result of hosting the event.

It's important you treat government investment the same as private sector investment. You need to:

  • consider what benefits the event can provide that meet the specific partner’s goals and expectations
  • seek to understand what motivates the potential funder
  • identify leverage or legacy opportunities that are relevant to achieving your strategic goals and objectives.