Global Sports Impact Report 2015
The GSI Report 2015 is the first in a series of annual reports studying the impact of sport. World championships and multisport games events from 2014 are analysed and assessed via the methodologies, analytical tools and ratings developed by Sportcal through its Global Sports Impact (GSI) Project which was established in 2011.


Sport plays a unique role in our society. It is a multi-billion dollar industry but at the same time it has a social responsibility. It has the power to impact on society and inspire people in a way that no other industry can.
The impacts and narratives around sport are often missed and lost. Consequently the benefits of sport are undervalued and frequently poorly communicated.
The GSI Project is developing a more holistic view, where the benefits of sport are seen from a broad range of perspectives; not just from an economic point of view, but from sporting, media, social and environmental aspects as well.
The Global Sports Impact Report 2015 presents some of the work of the GSI Project, sharing data and narrative, the stories that sit behind the major sporting events of 2014. The report analyses the major world championships and multi-sport games and compares them across a range of perspectives and sports.

The result of all this work is a 400-page report that is a must-have for anyone in sport.

Key Highlights

  • 5 Case Studies
  • 77 Events
  • 50+ Sports
  • 600+ Cities
  • 80+ Nations
  • 130+ Tables
  • 80+ Charts
  • Sportcal Global Sports Nations and Cities Indices


  • 13 million+ people attended a world championship or multisport games
  • 400 million+ spectators attended 50 selected leagues, tours and series
  • The FIFA World Cup was the most attended event in 2014
  • The Commonwealth Games was the most attended multi-sport games
  • Major League Baseball generated the highest attendance of any league
  • The Tour De France had the highest average attendance


  • The FIFA World Cup attracted over 1 million tourists in 2014
  • Sports tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of tourism in the world
  • Sports tourism is frequently used as a measure of economic impact
  • Many events are not focused on sports tourism and don’t gather data on it
  • Mass participation events are driving a new form of sports tourism
  • 49,746 competitors generated almost 600,000 bed nights of largely unmeasured economic impact

Events and Bidding

  • Canada was the leading Global Sports Bidding Nation in 2014
  • 61 bidding opportunities in the GSI selected sports were awarded to 34 countries in 2014
  • Many countries and cities are not aware of all the bidding opportunities available in sport
  • More and more countries are looking to attract major sporting events
  • There is a need for more transparency in the awarding of major sporting events
  • Of the 2014 events, the ISU World Allround Speed Skating Championships is the oldest event, established in 1891
  • FIBA 3x3 World Championships is the newest event, established in 2012


  • The way we consume sport is changing
  • There is still a huge demand for live sport
  • Over 1,500 broadcast deals were concluded for 66 of the major events in 2014
  • Media rights fees are increasing for the major events, in some cases significantly
  • Commonwealth Games experienced a 12% increase in media rights fees
  • FIBA Basketball World Cup experienced a 50% increase
  • The media landscape is getting more competitive, with telecoms companies driving triple-play strategies
  • Measuring media impact is becoming more complex
  • There is confusion about how best to measure the media impact of sport for all stakeholders

Online and Social Media

  • FIFA achieved the highest peak rank for a sports federation website in 2014/15
  • ICC was second, followed by FIBA, FIS and IIHF
  • NBA was the highest ranked sports organization on the GSI Social Media Index for 2014
  • Second was FIFA, followed by UEFA, NFL and IOC
  • Collectively, 67 sports governing bodies have generated a huge social media reach
  • Facebook – 255 million likes
  • Twitter – 84 million followersInstagram – 20 million followers
  • YouTube – 14 million subscribers


  • 12 out of the world’s top 20 global brands sponsored at least one of the selected major events in 2014
  • 637 companies sponsored the 77 major sporting events in 2014
  • 117 companies sponsored more than one event
  • Tissot and adidas were involved in the most events, with 11 sponsorship deals each
  • 91 different sectors sponsored sport
  • 48 different industries
  • There was an average of 11 sponsorship deals per event


  • 49,746 competitors participated in the 77 selected sporting events in 2014
  • 46,354 of these competitors were from overseas
  • The Asian Games had the highest number of competitors with 9,501
  • The ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships had no domestic athletes
  • The UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships had the highest % of domestic athletes, with 38 out of 122
  • Europe hosted 60% of all world championships in 2014
  • The Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games had 100% of their members participating in their events
  • The FINA World Championships (25m) in Doha, Qatar had the highest % of member participation in 2014
  • FINA Diving World Cup 2014 had the highest percentage of female competitors with 50.63%
  • On average, events have a 60:40 male to female split
  • There is a definite ‘home advantage’ for domestic athletes winning medals


  • 128,737 volunteers participated in 43 major sporting events in 2014
  • The Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia had the most volunteers with 25,000
  • The average number of volunteers across the multi-sport games was 18,247
  • There is anecdotal evidence that sport inspires people to do sport but there is little concrete evidence
  • Many of the surveys conducted have serious flaws and frequently do not show the true picture
  • Many organisations, like UNICEF, are keen to use sport to engage in social change
  • Very few events measure any form of social engagement or pride
  • There are a few examples of educational programmes developed around major events, but many of these are not followed through after the event has finished
  • Many events didn’t have records for the number of volunteers

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