An event impact survey published on Monday (18 December) has revealed the hugely positive impact the World Para Athletics Championships and IAAF World Championships London 2017 had on the British capital.
London became the first city ever to host both the World Para Athletics Championships and IAAF World Championships in the same year with more than 3,300 athletes from more than 200 nations competing in 30 sessions across 20 days.
The study (which can be found at www.londonandpartners.com/events/news), delivered by The Sports Consultancy, in partnership with Nielsen Sports, Gracenote and PCSG, assessed the total economic impact of the Summer of World Athletics as exceeding GBP 107million.
More than a million people attended both Championships with events not just held in the London Stadium but across the capital. The IAAF World Championships were awarded a Guinness World Record for tickets sold in excess of 705,000, whilst the World Para Athletics Championships with 305,000 ticket sales, exceeded the figures for all previous editions of the event combined.
The report also revealed that an estimated GBP 2.1million investment was made into grassroots athletics and running with the official inspiration programme and ‘Team Personal Best’ engaging with 250,000 people through 733 events with 250 held in the host city alone. Further to that, an average 45 per cent of those surveyed said they had been inspired to do sport or active recreation more often than usual as a result of attending the Championships.
The Championships also impacted audiences across the globe via broadcast and social media. On digital channels there were a recorded 1.6 billion potential impressions for the official hashtags #IAAFWorlds and #ParaAthletics. In addition the official mascot of the IAAF World Championships, Hero the Hedgehog, reached 4 million through the two main highlight videos on Facebook whilst the BP ‘Energy Within’ Campaign video featuring Richard Whitehead, released around the World Para Athletics Championships, attracted over 10 million Facebook views. Finally, in the UK alone more than half the available viewing audience – a 10m peak - tuned in to see the British Team success in winning the 4x100m relay gold at the IAAF World Championships, and overall the events achieved a 942m cumulative viewing audience.
The study also reported:
• The World Para Athletics Championships contributed a direct economic impact of GBP 28.16m to the London economy and a total economic impact ranging between GBP 38.86m and GBP 56.89m, resulting in a total contribution to GDP of between GBP 16.17m and GBP 23.67m.
• Percentage of event attendees that agreed that hosting both Championships showcased London as a positive, vibrant city: 97 per cent
• Percentage of attendees agreed they felt proud in London hosting both Championships: 97.8 per cent
• Percentage of attendees agreed that hosting both Championships had a positive impact on London’s communities: (World Para Athletics 95 per cent, IAAF World Championships 91 per cent)
• Percentage of those surveyed who said they had been inspired to do sport or active recreation more often than usual as a result of attending the Championships: (World Para Athletics 47 per cent, IAAF World Championships 42 per cent)
• 15,578 tickets were sold for the championships through the sports and community groups programme
• As part of sustainability initiatives, 59 per cent of spectators made use of the refill stations at the events with reusable drinks bottles
UK Athletics Chair Richard Bowker said: “Once again, in 2017, London showed it can stage the greatest athletics events in the greatest athletics stadium in the world. Both the World Para Athletics Championships and the IAAF World Athletics Championships provided an inspiration to millions of people both in the UK and abroad.
“Not only can we reflect so positively on the efforts that went into organising what are unanimously being regarded as ‘best ever’ championships, UK Athletics is immensely proud of all the British athletes who competed in London this summer. We are confident the performances demonstrate we are in great shape as we continue to prepare for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.”
Xavier Gonzalez, the IPC’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “The World Para Athletics Championships in London were by far the best yet, taking the event to a whole new level. Record crowds and broadcast audiences around the world were rewarded with record breaking performances by the Para athletes.”
IAAF President, Sebastian Coe said: “It has been a phenomenal year of athletics, at the epicentre of which were the outstanding IAAF World Championships London 2017. We witnessed the greatest number of athletes, the highest level of performances and largest stadium audiences ever seen across the event’s 16 editions. This report shows the positive impact of hosting an IAAF World Championships."