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Look back at summer of sport shows £107m economic impact of World Athletics in UK

By Rob Gibson    22 Dec 2017
After the record-breaking events, prime minister Theresa May hosted a reception for British athletes, coaches and staff involved in the World Athletics and Para Athletics Championships / Paul Grover/Daily Telegraph/PA Wire/PA Images
We witnessed the greatest number of athletes, the highest level of performances and largest stadium audiences ever seen across the event’s 16 editions
– Sebastian Coe, president, IAAF

As the 2017 sporting calendar draws to a close, an event impact study has measured the value to the UK of hosting the World Athletics Championships at £107m (US$143.2m, €120.8m).

London became the first city 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, delivered by The Sports Consultancy, in partnership with Nielsen Sports, Gracenote and PCSG, assessed the total direct economic impact of the events as exceeding £107m, with more than one million fans attending the championships.

The IAAF World Championships were awarded a Guinness World Record for tickets sold in excess of 705,000, while the World Para Athletics Championships, with 305,000 sales, exceeded the total for all previous tournaments combined.

“It’s been a phenomenal year of athletics, at the epicentre of which were the outstanding IAAF World Championships London 2017,” said IAAF president Sebastian Coe.

“We witnessed the greatest number of athletes, the highest level of performances and largest stadium audiences ever seen across the event’s 16 editions.”

The report also revealed that a £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 nationwide.

Of those surveyed, 45 per cent said they had been inspired to do sport or active recreation more often than usual as a result of attending the Championships.

UK Athletics chair Richard Bowker said: “Once again, 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 in the UK and abroad.”

Social media channels recorded 1.6 billion potential impressions for the official hashtags #IAAFWorlds and #ParaAthletics and in the UK alone, more 10 million people tuned in to see the Team GB success in winning the 4x100m relay gold at the IAAF World Championships.

A breakdown of the economic impact showed the World Para Athletics Championships contributed £28.2m (US$37.7m, €31.8m) to the London economy and had total economic impact ranging between £38.9m (US$52.1m, €43.9m) and £56.9m (US$76.13m, €64.3m), resulting in a total contribution to GDP of between £16.2m (US$21.7m, €18.3m) and £23.7m (US$31.7m, €26.8m).

The IAAF World Athletics Championships contributed £79m (US$105.7m, €89.2m) to the London economy and had a total economic impact ranging between £109m (US$145.8m, €123m) and £159.6m (US$213.5m, €180.2m), resulting in a total contribution to GDP of between £45.4m (US$60.7m, €51.3m) and £66.4m (US$88.8m, €75m).

athletics  IAAF  World Para Athletics Championships  IAAF World Championships  UK Sport  Seb Coe  UK Athletics  Richard Bowker  The Sports Consultancy 
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