How to assess the sporting impact of international sporting events in Taiwan: methodological perspective

Yu Huang


Hosting sporting events has a tremendous impact upon various areas, such as politic stability, economic growth, urban generation, and image of host cities (Haferburg, 2011; Gratton & Preuss, 2008). The rationale for the government to support hosting of these sport events is that they utilize these events as financial investments and expect to generate additional revenue from the event organizers as well as from visitors (Chalip & Leyns, 2002; Gratton, Dobson, &. Shibli, 2000). The academic community has spent enormous effort to examine the impact. The economic impact of sport events has been the focus of the research since the 1980s. Burns, Hatch, and Mules (1986) selected the 1985 Adelaide Grand Prix as the subject of their research. Ritchie and Aitken (1984) conducted an impact study related to the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympic Games, including an economic impact analysis. Some other impact studies examined in various dimensions, including environmental issue (Jones, 2008; Mallen, Stevens, Adams, & Roberts, 2010), image enhancement, social impact (Allen, 2013; Balduck, Maes, & Buelens, 2011; Kim, Jun, Walker, & Drane, 2015), and the sporting impact (Taks, Green, Misener, & Chalip, 2014). Also, some studies focused on multifaceted impacts (Gratton & Preuss, 2008; Swart, Bob, Knott, &. Salie, 2011).

The premises of previous studies asserted that hosting international sport events should have an impact upon sport development (e.g., interest in sport participation, improved sport performance). Several studies pinpointed that sport development is viewed as a built-in benefit while hosting international sporting events (1SE) (Taks et al., 2014; Ramchandani, Davies, Coleman, Shibli, & Bingham, 2015). Compared to the extensive examination of economic impact of sporting events, event impact analysis of sport was seldom found. Bullough (2012) stressed that smaller events may create more room for local community to engage in sport.

Based upon the White Paper in Sport in Taiwan, hosting international sport events is a long-standing national policy. Roughly, 100 international sporting events were held yearly in Taiwan between 1999 and 2012 (Sport Administration, 2013). The number of international sporting events rose to 130. In addition, approximately 18,000 foreign athletes participated in those events, while individuals volunteered regularly 13,000 times. These events attracted roughly 800,000 spectators as well as 100 million viewers through various media outlets (Sport Administration, 2019). Undoubtedly, this government policy initiative has been successful from the aspect of quantity.

More importantly, Huang, Hsu, and Li (2019) identified 13 suitable indicators for assessing the sporting impact of international sporting events in Taiwan. To manage these indicators, it is vital to identify how to measure these indicators. Therefore, the purpose of the study discussed in this chapter is to develop a methodology for assessing these indicators of sporting impact of hosting international sport events in Taiwan. Moreover, the results of this study may be viewed as a reference tool for other cities in Asia as well as event organizers, which are similar in terms of their political structure and their governance system with regard to sport event hosting (Table 4.1).

Review of literature

Sustainability is a key value in the modern world. In order to track sustainable development, various sectors call for more investigation in developing an assessment system. For instance, the World Tourism Organization (WTO) began to initiate a series of indicators in the 1990s and then created a guidebook of indicator development, which addressed its utilization in sustainable tourism (Manning, 1999; Ко, 2005; Asmelash & Kumar, 2019). In the guidebook, “indicators are measures of the existence or severity of current issues, signals of upcoming situations or problems, measures of risk and potential need for action, and means to identify and measure the results of our actions.” (World Tourism Organization, 2004, p. 8). This statement points out that indicators are essential in sustainable management and play several important functions, including monitoring, assessing, comparing, communicating, and tracking.

Table 4.1 A List of Indicators of the Sporting Impact of the International Sport Event




Number of participants/ spectators

Improved athletic skills of local athletes

Attraction of a premium event

Interest of the host city for this sport

Increased usage of the sport facility/equipment

Relationship-building among event stakeholders, (i.e., NFs and IFs)

Increased participation on this sport

Access to use of a modernized stadium

“Homemade” sport event branding

Attendance intention in the future

Personnel development for this sport

Promotion of sport education and cultural program

Investment of sport policy initiatives (e.g., elite athletes, sport for all)

Huang et al. (2019) found that the 13 indicators were identified while evaluating the sporting development aspect of sporting events in Taiwan (Table 4.1). The sporting impact is defined as “changes in behavioral patterns, knowledge/ skills, human relations, and the delivery system of individuals, families, cities and organizations as a result of sporting events for the aim of sport development” (p. 103). Its boundary is articulated through two perspectives: the impacted party and the form of impact. The former refers to individuals, families, cities, and organizations, while the latter may include changes in behavior, knowledge acquired, influence on organizational behaviors, sports infrastructure, networking formation, and operational structure. The following sections elaborate the context of each of these indicators and their proposed measurement mechanisms. These 13 indicators ranged from increased sports participation and promotion of educational program to impact upon other sports policy. To discuss these indicators in a systematic manner, they were categorized as several aspects: pyramid model of sport development, impact upon other sport policy, even-related initiatives, physical resources, human capital, and social capital.

Pyramid model of sport development

This model of sport development includes two vital issues: quality of sports performance, quantity of sports participants. The former mainly focuses on the on-the- field performance of elite athletes while the latter indicates the number of event participants and on-site spectators. The performance ranking/standing on the competition can be the suitable indicator. Indeed, the performance results should be used to compare results in previous editions or similar scaled events. Such information can be retrieved from the public data, event organizers, or sports association that is in charge. In terms of number of event participants, some event hosts may release the attendance number or ticket sales while other event hosts will provide based upon request. Indeed, from the aspect of the local host (i.e., host cities), they would be more interested in how many spectators or athletes participated from the host region. Indeed, the more the local resident’s participation, the higher the interest level of the local residents. Additionally, attendance intention in the future is another measuring item. Since the economic impact study is also adopted in these sporting events, it will suggest that these two questions, including origin of event participants and their participating intention in the future, should be incorporated in the economic survey.

Impact upon other sport policy

Sporting event hosting policy should not exist solely. Any sport organization (i.e., sport federation, sport association) or local city government should formulate its sport public policy from a holistic perspective. This means that how hosting sporting events affect other aspects of sport development. As aforementioned, sport event hosting should benefit the two major issues in the pyramid model of sport development. In other words, how to generate the impact upon elite athlete development as well as mass participation initiative while planning sporting events seems to be very significant for the sport organizations or local host (e.g., city government). To understand the effect of the sport event hosting upon two vital components of sport policy (i.e., elite athlete development and grassroots initiative), it suggests to conduct an interview with the core stakeholders (e.g., sport organizations and local city governments) of the international sporting events. The concern will emphasize on how sport event hosting influences the policy of elite athlete and grassroots promotion.

Even-related initiatives

This section covers several issues, including “attraction of a premium event,” “Homemade sport event branding,” and “Promotion of cultural and sport education.” First, the report by Sport Administration showed that roughly two-thirds of international sport events in Taiwan were non-sanctioned, and the scale was small to medium sized. This definitely limited the effect of these events. Thus, how to secure more premium sport events becomes an essential task for these event stakeholders. Premium events mean more bonus points, higher prize money for medalists, or qualified tournaments for higher-tier events. Indeed, many international sport federations created an event classification scheme. For instance, event categories for World Badminton Federation consists of world tour events, tour super 100, super series, international challenge, international series, future series, junior and senior series. Normally, the higher the prize money, the more first-class players take part in. To obtain the classified status of these sporting events, some information is useful, including tiers of events, bonus point, prize money, ranking of participating players, and qualified situation. Second, many event hosts capitalize the opportunities to promote the destination image. The event study by Kaplanidou, Jordan, Funk, and Ridinger (2012) addressed that destination and event attributes allowed event participants to associate the event with the place, which led to a higher-level loyalty. Undoubtedly, event organizers should initiate the branding plan for their events. As for branding development, creation of the event identity system is vital in which four essential elements, including visual identity, behavioral identity hearing identity, and mind identity, represented the symbol of the event brand. Thus, researchers should analyze the brand development through examining the four elements of event identity system. Of course, in-depth interview with event organizers and content analysis of documents is suggested to collect the relevant information. Also, “Promotion of cultural and sport education programme” can be deemed as promotional activities around the sport events, which aims to generate the crowd traffic. Chalip, Green, Taks, and Misener (2017) found that results of various studies did not always support this assertion due to lack of leverage initiatives, insufficient knowledge/ capability of event organizers to formulate sport participation plans, as well as a solid partnership to extend the event impact.

Physical resources

Physical resources refer to the hardware (i.e., sports venue) for the sport events. The past literature demonstrated that the “White Elephant” phenomenon means the low usage of the sport facility in the post-event era. This highlights the lack of a solid event hosting plan. Thus, the aim of hosting sport events is to improve usage of the venue to some extent. The quality of the venue plays a crucial role in affecting the quality of the sport event. To obtain an understanding of the effect of the sporting events on the usage of the venue, initiating a dialogue with the event host or venue operator is useful.

Human capital

Past studies emphasized that knowledge (i.e., human capital) is one of the fundamental legacies for the sporting events (Preuss, 2007). Girginov and Hills (2008) investigated the effect of the Olympic Games upon sport participation as well as on national sports system. Their findings supported that knowledge accumulation and capacity improvement are viewed as positive human capital produced by sport events. The knowledge and experiences generated from hosting these sport events lead the workforce to improve their capacity. Several dimensions of human capitals were identified through interviews with the personnel of the Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games, including network cultivation, interpersonal relationship skill, adaptability/flexibility, and Olympic-level skill- set (Kaplanidou, Giannoulakis, Odio, &. Chalip, 2019). From the organizational standpoint, the skill of the paid staff and volunteers of the sport organization are vital while attaining the objectives. Indeed, improving the skills of the paid staff as well as that of the volunteer is one the operational goals (Winand, Zintz, Bayle, & Robinson, 2010). Managing sporting events is one of the crucial practices for these national sport federations. Thus, increasing the knowledge and experiences of event staff and volunteers became imperative to understand how the local staff or volunteers were involved in this event organizations. The number of working personnel as well as what key position these local staff hold seem to be influential from the sake of human capital.

Social capital

This item has been discussed in the social impact of sports events and highlighted that its features (i.e., networks, norms, and social trust) facilitated coordination and cooperation for mutual benefits. Indeed, such social capital can be easily found in the context of international sport community since many sport organizations were bound by certain guidelines/requirements. In modernized sports world, many sports have their authority, level of hierarchy, and institutional governance within its global ecosystem. Networking or relationship seemed to be very vital among members of the sports family. Kuo, Cheng, and Chen (2012) addressed the flow of social capital in sport organizations. They asserted that “guaixi” or networking can be an influential asset for sport organizations to obtain resources. Per sports policy in Taiwan, one of the main themes in international sport aimed to secure the serving opportunities of international sport organizations (i.e., committee members, commission members, panelists). To measure the social capital for this study, the most obvious indicator can be the serving opportunity for the international/continental sport organizations, particularly in the positions within the committee or the federations. This means that the serving positions that the national federation obtained within the international organizations may be attributed to hosting international sport events.

In summary, the aforementioned discussion facilitated the development of measuring tools for all of the indicators for assessing the sporting impact of international sport events in Taiwan. Because of the nature of the context of these indicators, measuring tools were developed in qualitative as well as quantitative formats. The proposed measuring methods for all indicators are presented in Table 4.2.

Table 4.2 Proposed Measuring Methods and Source of Data for Indicators


Proposed measuring method

Source of data

Quality of sport performance (e.g., ranking/standing)

To examine the ranking/standing of the events and compare with previous editions or similar scaled events

The event organizer

Quantity of sport participants, including number of event participants, the attendance number, future attendance intention

To analyze the event attendance/ entry information from the event organizer.

The event host

To conduct a survey for

understanding the future intention as well as the origin of participants

Primary data

Impact upon the policy of elite sports

To have a dialogue with the event host (i.e., national federation, host city)

The event host

Impact upon the policy of grassroots promotions

To have a dialogue with the event host (i.e., national federation, host city)

The event host

Attraction of a premium event

To examine the classification of the events system

Secondary data

Homemade sport event branding (e.g., event identity system)

To analyze creation and development of the event brand through interviewing the event host

The event host

Promotion of cultural and sport education

To examine the initiatives related to the culture and sports through interviewing the event organizer

The event host

Usage of the venue

To understand the effect of the sports events on the usage of the venue

The venue operator


The aim of this research was intended to propose measuring tools for all of the indicators. To examine the effectiveness of the measuring tools for these indicators, a group of five sport event experts, including four scholar and one senior official of national sports federations, was invited to serve on a panels of experts to examine the content validity of the measure. These four university scholars have been in this area for at least 20 years, respectively, while the expert from the sport organization has devoted more than 30 years and was involved in sport. An invitational letter was delivered to these experts to ensure that they are able to participate in this research, and then they were asked to take part in the interview. A briefing section was held to articulate the purpose of this research and the content of the proposed methodology. Based on the context of the indicators, the measuring method and source of data were illustrated later: document analysis, survey, and personal interview.

Document analysis is used for examining results of the given sporting event while analyzing the sport performance of the local athletes. The researcher should access the public record related to the international sporting events. In-depth interviews will be conducted with event organizers to collect information regarding the number of event participants, physical resources, event-related initiatives, and impact on other sport policies. The guideline with the semi-structured interview was developed (Table 4.3). A survey is used to gain an understanding of the composition of the event participants as well as their future intention to participate in these events. This survey can be incorporated in the economic impact study for the sake of saving time. The expertise of these participants also is the key to improve the trustworthiness. Each interview was held from 40 minutes to 90 minutes through either social media platform or videoconferencing tool. Experts were required to clarify the concerned and intriguing issues afterward if the researcher had form earlier dialogue.

Table 4.3 Guideline for Semi-Structured Interview


Numeric information about event entry/participation in recent editions.

Impact of the international sporting events upon other sport policies (e.g., elite athlete program, sport for all, and sport event industry.)

Involvement in international affairs for the international federations (e.g., serving position within the IFs)

Scope of engagement in organization of the international sporting events from the local sports personnel

Effect of the sport event upon the condition and usage of the sport venue

Change in the classification of the international sport events

Brand development in the sport event, such as brand creation and event identity system

Activation program related to cultural and sport within the sport events


Five experts were involved in this study. Four are from the academic community while one expert worked for the national governing body. All interviews were held through an online platform. The results were demonstrated in the following order: pyramid model of sport development, impact upon other sport policies, even-related initiatives, physical resources, social capital, and human capital.

Pyramid model of sport development

Several indicators as well as their measurement methods were addressed. Undoubtedly, for the quality of sport performance, all experts agreed that rank- ing/standing in the competition was selected as a proper measuring method. The medal table was used as a vital resource while measuring the quality of elite athlete programs in recent editions or similar scaled events. Per sport for all, the number of event participants, including spectators, was influential and can serve as the key figure as well. This information can be obtained from event organizers. In terms of attendance intention in the future, this item can be included along with the economic study, which aims to collect the data from event spectators as well as participants. Furthermore, interest of the host city for this sport can be measured through analyzing the origin of event participants. The economic study definitely served as a useful role to acquire this data as long as this item was part of the economic impact study. One of the experts also proposed that the report by the Sport Administration, National Sport Participation, played a vital role in this regard. Information related to participation number for each sport in each city can be found in this national study. Thus, this helped the event organizer to acquire an understanding of the effect of hosting international sporting event upon the interest of local participants toward these sports. Notably, this national survey provided the research team with an influential database.

Impact upon other sport policies

Two major sport policies were identified in this research: elite development and sport for all. All experts confirmed the necessity of this event hosting policy in the overall framework of sports, particularly the relationships between international sports event hosting policy and other sports policies (e.g., elite sport, sport for all). One of the experts mentioned that his federation has sent two teams to the recurring sporting event every-' year. Most of Team В members were from the university. This international event helped these young talents to improve their practical experiences. Undoubtedly, this event set up an example of how the sports event hosting associated with its elite sports policy. However, some experts asserted that sport event industry is a vital part of the outcome of other sport policies (i.e., elite athlete, sport for all). These policies have some cause-effect relationships. In addition, White Paper in Sport recognized the significance of the sport industry and proposed sport industry initiatives (Sport Administration, 2017b). Thus, besides elite sports and sport for all, policy related to sports event- related industry should become an indispensable element in this research.

Event-related initiatives

These initiatives stated three aspects of the impact of sport events, “attraction of a premium event,” “Homemade sport event branding,” and “Promotion of cultural and sport education.” All three initiatives received support from all panelists. In terms of “attraction of a premium event,” securing premium events definitely served as the main outcome while bidding for international sport events. The bonus and prize that athletes earned were the obvious index for the representation of the classification of sports events. Indeed, this can be obtained through examining the classification of the event system by any given international federation. Somehow, premium “Homemade” sport event branding seems to be a useful indicator for recurring sport events than one-off events since recurring sports allow event hosts to embrace valuable events and develop a long-term business strategy. “Promotion of cultural and sport education” served as a key driver to expand the effect of the sports game. One expert mentioned that event media partnership creates an influential effect to expand the impact of the sports events. For example, the host team invited the student-athletes to call for support from their school while the media provide these participating schools with publicity opportunity. Of course, the event itself received the benefits. To collect the aforementioned information, a guideline for the interview with the event organizer should be developed as well.

Physical resources

Physical resources refer to the hardware of the sport events (i.e., sport facilities). All experts confirmed that sport event hosting improved the usage of the sport venue, particularly in some modernized venues. The venue operator should be able to provide the usage information related to the facility. In addition, the quality of sport venue is associated with the tiers of sports events. One expert explained that the international federations set up a specific requirement for different tiers of sports events. To obtain such information, a dialogue with venue operator is useful. In terms of venue requirement for different tiers of sports events, national federations should be capable of providing essential data.

Social capital

The five experts supported the significance of this indicator of “Relationshipbuilding among event stakeholders, (i.e., NFs and IFs)” and agreed that a number of local delegates worked with the international governing body. This was counted by the term-based or one-off project. Indeed, tracking change in the numbers can comprehend the evolution of the social capital for the national federation. To obtain the information related to relationship building, such an inquiry was added in the interview guideline.

Human capital

Participating experts realized that local staff gained numerous experiences in delivering sports events while more and more international sports events were held in Taiwan. The aim of the indicator of “Personnel development for this sport” focused on the number of local staff who were involved in organizing the international sporting events, particularly in technical matters (e.g., judges, referees, scorers, public announcers). For instance, national federations encouraged young referees to obtain global certificates issued by the IFs. Such data can be acquired from an interview with the event host. Indeed, analyzing these numbers is an essential task in order to learn more about the long-term impact of international sports events on personnel development.

In summary, existing indicators seemed to be proper for the locality of measuring the impact of international sports events. However, two new items were proposed. Experts called for the policy of the sport event industry as the third pillar of the sport public policy. Information about the participating number for each sport in each city was vital while the researchers analyze the study of Participation in Sport released by the Sport Administration. Per measuring methods, conducting interviews with the event organizer as well as venue operator seemed to be essential. Indicators related to “Origin of event participants” and “Participating intention in the future” were perceived as the primary data which can be surveyed in the economic impact study. In addition, document analysis was adopted to analyze game results, event brand development reports, and event-related promotional documents.


The findings of this study showed that two new indicators were added besides the 13 existing ones, which was far below the number of indicators of each of the three scopes: economic (44), social-cultural (48), and environmental impact (33) for the Olympic Games Impact Study. This disparity was attributed to the different scales between the Olympic Games and the international sport events in Taiwan. In addition, the number of indicators in the four categories of sport event impacts was closer to the number in the report by the World Tourism Organization (2004), which suggested that 12 to 24 indicators were managed more effectively.

Regarding the pyramid model of sport development, the results of this study supported that several indicators were suitable. The number of participants/ spectators, attendance numbers, and participating intention in the future were deemed as proper to assess the effect of the sport events on sport for all (i.e., grassroots promotion). This finding was similar to the study by Bullough (2012), Hodgetts and Duncan (2015), and Veal, Toohey, and Frawley (2012). Any objective data, including registration data, the number of event entries, and attendance number were vital for measuring the sport participation. Some subjective data, such as participation rate in sports, was helpful to assess the interest level of people. Brown, Essex, Assaker, and Smith (2017) explored the influence of event satisfaction upon future intention to attend events and sport participation. A questionnaire was developed to measure satisfaction level, participation intention, as well as attendance intention of event spectators. Indeed, the Sport Administration carried out an annual study that addressed participation rates in sports in Taiwan as well as in each city. In addition, performance of local athletes was perceived as the indicator of elite athlete development. Hodgetts and Duncan (2015) used the ranking of athletes as a vital index on sport development. Analyzing game results among existing and previous editions allowed researchers to understand the impact of these events on elite development.

This study identified three major policies associated with sport event hosting whereas such results cannot be found in most of the Western nations. Won and Chiu (2018) stated that geopolitics was viewed as a vital reason in bidding and hosting international sport events for some Asian nations. Hosting international sporting events has been a long-standing national policy. An evaluation of the influence of these events from the perspective of sport development should be included due to the pivotal context of the sporting public policy. Based upon the White Paper in Sport (2017b), three main tracks, including sport for all, elite athlete, and sport industry, were presented, which were consistent with the results of this study. Additionally, personal interview as well as document analysis were used to examine the impact of these international sport events on the sport for all policy, elite development, and sport event-related industry.

The component of event-related initiatives focused on three aspects: “attraction of a premium event,” “Homemade sport event branding,” and “Promotion of cultural and sport education.” As stated in the report by Sport Administration, almost one-third of sporting events are sanctioned by international federations or international governing bodies. This means that hosts of these non-sanctioned events normally deal with lack of interest from media, sponsorship as well as spectators since the events will not be able to attract first-class athletes. Thus, how to attract premium events become vital in the international sport event policy. Most of the international governing bodies stipulated a specific event classification system that articulates prize money, bonus, and qualification mechanism. Therefore, personal interview with NFs’ delegate was selected. Since many events were aimed to improve the image of host city, Kaplanidou et al. (2012) demonstrated that destination and event attributes allowed event participants to associate the event with the place, which led to a higher level of loyalty. To examine the sport event branding development, the concept of an event identity system by Chen and Huang (2012) mentioned that four elements, visual identity, behavioral identity, hearing identity, and mind identity were crucial. Additionally, “Promotion of cultural and sport education” was attributed as the leverage action. Indeed, Weed et al.’s (2015) study found that an effectively leveraged plan in the pre-event period might lead to the successful demonstration effect of this sport event. Thus, analyzing these promotional programs through personal interview with the event host was deemed as essential.

This study supported that usage plan of the sports venue as suitable manner for assessing the impact of the international sport events. This result was the same with the study by Chalip et al. (2017) which asserted physical resources (e.g., facilities) as required resources for sustainable development in sport. More importantly, the result of this study confirmed that the quality of sports venue was sustained through hosting of world-class events. Besides hardware parts, software part should not be ignored. The findings of this study showed that “Relationshipbuilding among event stakeholders” and “Personnel development for this sport” were perceived as social and human capital, which was supported by Girginov &. Hills, (2008); Veal et al., (2012); Chalip et al., (2017). The finding also was echoed by the Sports Statistics (2017), showing that the number of serving positions that local representatives were involved. More importantly, this study selected personal interview as a method of data collection in these aspects.


Two emerging indicators were added in relation to the existing 13 indicators. In terms of the smaller scaled events, this figure was more reasonable and manageable. Notably, methods of the data collection for these indicators were identified, in which personal interview and content analysis of documents were utilized for further research. The guideline for semi-structured interview was developed as well. A few items were suggested to be incorporated with the economic study. Since sport was a vital national policy, some national-funded research served as a useful resource for assessing the effect of the sport policy. Some new findings allowed researchers to expand scholarly content in the field of assessment of the sport event impact of knowledge. Suggestions made for business practices in sport event include the following; different types of events are organized for different reasons and creating unique sporting impact. For instance, the professional sport events, such as golf, attract more spectators as well as global media attention, whereas a homegrown event produces branding opportunities. Thus, it is vital to (a) develop a suitable event typology in the nation as well as a framework for the impact assessment of each type of international sporting event; (b) select international sports events as research subject for validating proposed methodology; (c) develop a solid framework as a sporting legacy for assessing the impact and effectiveness of these international sport events, and (d) investigate the impact of these events upon each of these event stakeholders.


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Chapter 5

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