Professional sport events





Sport: Can be described as “all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being, forming social relationships or obtaining results in competition at all levels (11). These include play; recreation; organised, casual or competitive Sport; and indigenous Sport or games.” (11.1). Event: Is a planned “out of the ordinary or unique” experience that has a specific purpose, happens once (limited duration) and seeks to raise the interest of a group. From a Sport and physical activity perspective, Sport events are a determinant component to achieve Sport for All goals.

Specific types of initiative this Activity Box applies to

All professional (elite) tournaments celebrated in one venue, during a short period (less than 1 month) and with outstanding reach and media interest:

Sport mega-events:
Those with international scope that gather over 1000 participants in a short period of time (Less than 1 month) and by general rule in a fixed venue:

  • Olympic Games.
  • Football World Cup.
  • International Marathons (over 1000 participants).
  • European championship.
  • Commonwealth Games.
  • FISU World University Games.

Other types of professional tournaments.

  • Individual Sport World Cups (Cricket, Rugby, Table Tennis, etc.)
  • Tennis Grand Slams
  • Tour de France.


  • USD 28 billion was the estimated cost of the Tokyo 2016 Olympic Games. (145)
  • 24.1 billion reais ($10.76 billion) were allocated for the building of facilities for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. (146)
  •  7.7 million football fans visit FIFA Fan Fest during Russia 2018. (150)
  • International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 generated over 4.7 billion interactions. (145)

Why is it so important


  • Mega Sport events bring important level of investment which could have a potential contribution in Sport for All.
  • Leisure and recreational Sport events may contribute to the overall atmosphere of joy and celebration of an event.
  •  There is increased awareness of media on and decision-makers on the effects of hosting Sport mega events, e.g., The situation of favelas in Rio de Janeiro during.
  • Legacy plans for host cities are crucial in bidding processes. A central component is Sport for All during the Games (e.g., exhibitions) and after the event (e.g., use of Sport facilities).
  • Alternative Sport activities are relevant added values for sponsors.
  • Mega Sport events could be a channel to disseminate core benefits of Sport as an alternative to competitiveness and elitism.

International endorsement.

Kazaan plan:                                                                                                                                                 Sport events can lead to advocacy results by stimulating social and environmental change.

UNESCO Charter:                                                                                                                                Sport events must pay due consideration to the overarching principle of sustainability, be it economic, social, environmental.

Agenda 2020 IOC:                                                                                                                                      Potential candidate cities should consider Sport, economic, social and environmental long-term planning need. The maximum use of existing facilities and using temporary and demountable venues should be promoted.

Barriers to sport that should be overcome

  • Increased competitive focus in Sport mega events is putting away Sport for All initiatives.
  • Licensing agreements may prevent other potential partners from realizing Sport activities.

Tips and key success factors

Fan fests and other complimentary exhibitions “for All”

  • Security is an important matter. Massive Sport events should be planned and supported by local organisers and authorities.
  • The involvement of partners and sponsors is also crucial. These activities are unique win to win opportunities for both sides.
  • Hallmark iconic places of the host city to celebrate festivals or other massive Sport event.
  •  Combine other activities to attract more participants: music, arts, live watching.
  • Not only events with physical activity are worth to consider. Other activities can also be organised: youth forums, conferences, among others.

Constructing Legacy Plans for biddings in international Sport mega events

  • Involve different sector of a bid city: government, academia, third sector, athletes, schools, etc.
  • Use of stadiums, arenas and other Sport facilities as well as the remnant Sport equipment should be a core element of a Legacy strategy.
  • SDG #3 and #10 are valid sustainability underpinning frameworks.

Other tips

  • Think of involving the host city in a wider “Active City” approach.
  • Inclusive principle: Migrants, people with disabilities, gender equity, among others.
  • Do not organize events during a mega Sport event without considering age-based implications.
  • Either in a long season or a short intense tournament, participants may be exposed to injuries. Consider medical support.
  • Additional opportunities: Participants could participate (pay an entry fee) if there is a competitive level that may fit in, e.g., a national professional.

Available resources

Sample case

Paris 2024 promised to revolutionise the experience of the Olympic and Paralympic Games for the general public. (Paris 2024, Organizing Committee)

  • New approach to games placed in the general public.
  • Many people shared a dream that is now a reality: at the Paris 2024’s Mass Participation Marathon, amateur athletes can follow the same route as the Olympic marathon event, enabling many to run in the footsteps of outstanding athletes.
  • This will be an extraordinary experience, on a unique and original route, celebrating the history and of Paris and its region.

More information:
Paris 2024 Sport for All and legacies: Click Here