Canadian Journal for Social Research
It is often claimed that sport events can stimulate interest and consequent participation in sport. The data on this matter are inconclusive. It is known, however, that sport participation is not being raised merely by the fact that an event is being hosted, but rather on the ways that an event is used to render desired effects (i.e., event leveraging). The purpose of this research project was to examine how medium sized sport events can be used to stimulate sport participation in host communities. Using a three-phased study, findings show that: (a) sport events are unlikely in-and-of themselves to generate increases in sport participation; (b) there are nonetheless opportunities to use events to generate sport participation if the requisite strategies and tactics are put into place; (c) sport organizations at the local level lack the necessary skills and resources to take advantage of a locally hosted event to build participation in their sport; (d) local sport organizations have a set of standard operating procedures for recruitment and retention which tend to support a status quo; and (e) an event can catalyze the interest of local sport organization administrators in the possibilities for a better effort at building their sport.