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London 2012 – What’s left?

4 décembre 2012

It’s been almost four months since the closing of the London 2012 Games and two weeks since the official debriefing in Rio de Janeiro. Let’s take a look at some of the lasting effects of the Olympics as well as the short-term impact for various stakeholders.

We know that Great Britain is at the top of the podium when it comes to the positive impact of the Games on the country. 51% of the British Public believe ‘London 2012 has made Britain a better place’ according to a new research led by Havas Sports & Entertainment. The study has also revealed that 53% agree that London 2012 ‘was the greatest Games ever’, twice as many people as when the same question was asked in July 2012.

If we look at brands, official sponsors benefitted significantly from this boost in attitudes, as public awareness between April and September, on average, doubled across 27 sponsors measured in the study. The two most recognized sponsors were McDonalds (55%) and the Coca-Cola Company (52%), who were at the top all the way through the study from March 2011. Consistently, the research is demonstrating that for most sponsors, awareness of their association with the Games has had a positive impact on their brand’s image and consumers’ attitudes about purchasing their products. The next waves of post-Games research are scheduled for February and August 2013. It will be interesting to see how Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup sponsors and organizers will learn from such results as the event will be the first general rehearsal before Rio 2016.

Many champions, especially British athletes, have kept on spreading the inspirational tone of London 2012 way after the Games. For example, Nicola Adams, the first ever female Olympic boxing champion at London 2012, and men’s super-heavyweight gold medallist Anthony Joshua recently visited Fight for Peace’s London Academy to promote the benefits of sport and boxing in particular as an educational tool for young people and their communities. Fight for Peace projects have had an estimated economic impact of €3.1 million on Newham in East London through personal development coaching that has had a direct impact on the reduction of crime.

As for International Inspiration, London 2012’s international sports legacy programme, millions of disadvantaged children in London and across the world have already benefited from many initiatives. Recently, London Mayor Boris Johnson visited the Magic Bus project in Mumbai and met Indian youngsters who have been given the chance to play sport in their schools and communities. The pioneering charity has now reached more than 2.7 million Indian children. Moreover, the Mayor has already invested €19 million into his Sports Legacy Fund and, with match funding, the total investment in grass roots sports in London is now more than €49 million.

In terms of local economic impact, the Office for National Statistics’ first estimate confirmed the UK economy grew by 1% between July and September, and the Olympic Games helped to boost growth over the summer. Moreover, the Greater London Authority (GLA) forecasts strong job creation in East London over the next two decades. It suggests that London’s employment levels will rise by 1.0% over 2012 as a whole partially due to Olympic effects and by 0.8% in 2013. The Centre of Economics and Business Research (CEBR) recently added that « these economic changes are changing the shape of London. Government infrastructure investment in the region in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics has helped to kick start local development and we expect growth in the East of London population continue.”

In Rio de Janeiro, during the London 2012 official debrief, Seb Coe, recently elected as Chairman of the British Olympic Association, insisted that the success of Rio 2016 would involve creating its own identity. He reflected that London took important lessons from Beijing 2008 while understanding itsown challenges, including budget issues. In this way the Rio 2016 Organising Committee has no reason to be intimidated by the success of London 2012, and should find its own path as the first city to host the Olympics and Paralympics in South America. For now the most urgent issue remains the construction of the Olympic Park in Rio. 18 months before the FIFA World Cup neither the main airport nor the Maracana Stadium are complete. Just as in London, transport will be a major pre-Games issue.

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