Investigating top-down and bottom-up strategic alignment of event leveraging outcomes: The case of the 2021 UCI Road World Championships

Georgia Teare*, Jordan T. Bakhsh, Kerri L. Bodin, Kobe Helsen, Marijke Taks, Jeroen Scheerder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research question: It is generally agreed upon that deliberate planning is needed to achieve predetermined positive outcomes from sport events (i.e., event leveraging). There is less consensus around the specific strategies that should be used to achieve such outcomes, and ownership of such strategies. A largely conceptual suggestion has been made that both top-down and bottomup stakeholders should be involved in event leveraging. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to investigate the (mis)alignment of top-down and bottom-up stakeholders’ event leveraging objectives and how this (mis)alignment relates to objective achievement.

Research methods: In the context of the city of Leuven (Belgium), and the 2021 UCI Road World Championships, a case study methodology was employed with three phases of data collection and analysis of: (1) top-down stakeholder documents; (2) semi-structured interviews with bottom-up stakeholders (n=8); and (3) online questionnaires with residents (n=3,662).

Results and findings: We found alignment for only one top-down and bottom-up objective (i.e., promote cycling as a means of active transportation), which was found to be achieved through examining residents’ use of cycling for groceries. The remaining objectives were not aligned, and therefore were not fully met or sustained as indicated through resident opinion and behaviour.

Implications: The findings provide empirical support for previous conceptual notions that both top-down and bottom-up strategies to event leveraging are needed. Future research can help support leveraging sport events by working with both top-down and bottom-up stakeholders prior to hosting to help facilitate objective alignment, and foster relationships to maximize outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean Sport Management Quarterly
Early online date4 Jan 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Jan 2024

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