Event Leveraging and Social LegacyThere are differences between social legacy and leveraging of events. Legacy is placing the event and the components at the centre, whereas leveraging emphasizes the strategic goals of the opportunity, as well as the relationships with event-related resources to further partnerships. Leveraging allows the opportunity for the event to go beyond an isolated occurrence and emphasizes the connectedness to other events, opportunities, and members within the community (Misener et al., 2018), whereas social legacy is the belief that a community will be bettered by hosting the event.
Misener (2015), suggests that events become the lever by which to develop specific strategies to enhance the desired outcomes of a sporting (or parasporting) event. The outcomes of these events depend on the avenues in which the event and related resources are exploited to bring about the desired outcomes. There are a variety of proposed approaches to leveraging sporting and parasporting events. Misener & Mason (2010) proposed the Corporate Community Involvement (CCI) perspective framework underlying guiding principles and strategies for organizations to promote community development through sporting events.
Corporations can begin to participate in community development through the guiding principles of community involvement in decision making, full disclosure and transparency to the public, and the legacy planning of grassroots organizations. Strategies suggested to attain these guidelines include providing effective assessments of social and community impact, facilitation of local resources (knowledge and supplies) and specific delivery methods, and cross-sector event management (Misener & Mason, 2010). When each of the three guiding principles are effectively achieved through performance of each of the CCI strategies, opportunities for organizations to make a valuable contribution to the community are provided, mitigating the negative impact events have on communities, due to the power differences between organizers and the local community (Misener & Mason, 2010). Misener, Darcy, Legg, and Gilbert (2013) proposed the Legacy Radar Diagram, based on the premise of Preuss’ (2007) Legacy Cube. The Legacy Cube originated with three dimensions of considerations including tangible/intangible, planned/unplanned and positive/negative. In 2008, the cube was expanded to encompass the six areas of legacy: infrastructure, knowledge, skill development and education, image, emotions and culture (Misener et al., 2013). Dickson, Benson, and Blackman (2011) identified omission, specifically with regards to parasport involvement in the creation of the Legacy Cube, and suggested that the cube could be extended to a radial diagram. Considerations within the Legacy Radar Diagram include cost, planning, structure, tangibility, timeframe and spatial impact (Misener et al., 2013). In this framework, infrastructure, urban regeneration and social capital are compared with consideration given to time and space, and the major legacy components were identified as economic, sports participation, infrastructure, environmental, urban renewal, transport, and volunteer/social capital (Misener et al., 2013). Within this framework, parasport event legacy is able to be conceptualized and understood in a realistic and dynamic method, accounting for the differences in parasport models. Misener (2015) proposed an integrated framework for leveraging sporting events, as a result of a desire to shift the focus of parasport from event legacies to emphasizing the need to identify and develop strategies at specific intervention points. This shift in focus identifies the understanding that merely hosting a parasport event will positively impact the community, and instead understands that event leveraging must be intentionally and tactically incorporated through the event planning, implementation, and assessment process to lead to positive community development (Misener, 2015). This approach appreciates the differences and connectedness of resources within the sport, non-sport, and event entities, at systems and structures, attitudes and opinions, and cultural levels (Misener, 2015). Building on this sporting framework, Chalip, Green, Taks and Misner (2016), developed a Parasport-Leveraging Framework, which suggests that leveraging points occur before, during and after the sport or parasport event. There has been a variety of arguments and critiques against hosting sport and parasporting events. There are concerns about the resources that are allocated to major sporting events, without regards for sustainability of facilities or infrastructure, the consequences to the community, or implications for local development (Misener & Mason, 2010). Community members believe there is a disconnect between the practices or leveraging strategies of the events from the everyday practices of local communities, neighbourhoods and local development activities (Misener & Mason, 2010). This disconnect from the routine procedures and leveraging strategies is often a result of the anarchic decision-making process of event planners and organizations in the interest of global flows rather than the local community, and is magnified by the lack of planning and input from the local community, organizing committees, and sport governing bodies (Misener, 2015). In all frameworks above, it was noted that successful event leveraging strategies included the opinions and input from the members of the community and local organizations. Including the public through the decision making processes allows for a sense of buy-in’ from the community, offering support for the decisions being made (McPherson, Misener, McGillivray & Legg, 2017). When the community’s opinions, apprehensions, and ideas are taken into account during the entire event planning process (from bid compilation to final assessment), practices are more aligned with positive outcomes, resources are mobilized more effectively, and concerns are handled more efficiently (McPherson et al., 2017). This allows for effective leveraging strategies to be created and implemented, and aids in long term sustainable community development. Leveraging can occur at a region, city, or business level if the businesses and organizations at each level are prepared to leverage events (Misener & Mason, 2010). Sport events must be utilized to build the capacity of the community, and procedures must be put in place to allow for the community to become versed in sport and parasport event and leveraging tactics to create desired outcomes (Chalip et al., 2016). For sport and parasport events, the overall economic impact can make the event successful and worthwhile, if the goals of the event, the sport, and non-sport entities are aligned (Chalip et al., 2016). Misener (2015) suggests that small to medium events offer more tangible prospects for communities to obtain, use, and maintain resources on a long-term basis, to sustain legacy from parasport events.Successful Parasport Leveraging StrategiesTwo examples of successful leveraging strategies come from The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014, and the Toronto Pan and ParaPan American Games in 2015. These examples demonstrate two different, yet equally effective leveraging strategies, based on the parasporting event models (integrated versus segregated game models), and the desired goals and outcomes of each of the events. The Glasgow Commonwealth Games, in 2014, strived to set a new benchmark for inclusivity utilizing a leveraging approach, and legacy agenda driven by four key pillars: flourishing, active, connected and sustainable (Misener et al., 2018). Accessibility and inclusion were not directly named as desired outcomes, yet were interwoven through a variety of intentional strategies through the games. A specific goal of these Games was to change attitudes by celebrating diversity and delivering truly inclusive sports programmes. The opening and closing ceremonies openly and boldly celebrated diversity, and intentional accessibility and inclusivity of internal (venues, communications, and services) and external aspects (job and volunteering opportunities, access to tickets, and transportation) of the games were praised (Misener et al., 2018)Comparatively, The Toronto Pan American and Parapan Am Games in 2015 had an emphasis on diversity and inclusion, and leveraging strategies reflected this purposeful focus (Misener et al. 2018). The accessibility objectives of the Games included venues and services being accessible to persons with disabilities, and the Games would be used as a platform to showcase accessibility and positively influence behaviours and attitudes to inclusion and accessibility (Misener et al., 2018). An example of this was the mascot ” Pachi the porcupine. He has 41 quills, one for each Pan American Nation, and the quills are varying colours representing varying value (green for youth, fuchsia for passion, blue for collaboration, orange for determination, and purple for creativity). One distinctive feature is that porcupines are visually impaired at a distance, making the mascot choice a tactical opportunity to promote inclusivity during both the able-bodied sport and parasport events (Misener et al., 2018). Media Portrayal Sport and parasporting mega-events are media spectacles that capture the attention and imagination of worldwide audiences (Misener, 2012). Media has the power to perpetuate misconceptions and stereotypes of disability but also has the power to highlight the opportunity for empowerment of those with disabilities and to change people’s perceptions of disability and parasport participation (Misener, 2012). Misener (2012), states that a good representation of the media influence is through the empowerment promise of the Paralympic movement. The positive potential of the relationship between sport event and disability, including awareness, participation, inclusion, and accessibility, is influenced in the way in which it is presented or framed, and the narratives used through media coverage (Misener, 2012). Athletes with disabilities can be framed in a variety of contexts, the most common being the supercrip’ or othering’ frame, where athletes are presented as heroic by virtue of their ability to perform in ways in which deemed not possible for those with disabilities. Other media frames include opportunities, political and neglected frames (Misener, 2012). Along with media framing of elite athletes, media coverage often encompasses a narrative, or story, within the coverage. Parasport athletes are often portrayed through one of, or a combination of six narratives: a) a Cinderella story, where parasport athletes explore, discover participate in, and experience a life in a full and multidimensional sense b) from ordinary to extraordinary, where competing and winning lead to gaining self-esteem c) holding on, where participants hold on to their identities as high-performance athletes d) letting go, where participation is more important than the competition e) embracing change, where athletes discover themselves and the lives around them in a new’ way, and f) feeling equal and values, where athletes desire to be valued beyond just being an athlete (Misener, 2012). Community Agenda of Parasporting Events The increased focus on accessibility and inclusion of parasport and parasport events create new potential for innovative leveraging strategies to promote community development. The hope is that investment in sports events, specifically parasport events will be seen as a long term investment opportunity rather than a short term cost to the community. Within previous research and literature, many concerns and critiques surrounding sports events, and the inability of these events to create a positive social legacy. Most concerns are rooted in the high cost of hosting a mega-event when building and facilities must be updated to meet the needs of the event, with unsustainable long term objectives from planning committees (Misener & Schulenkorf, 2016). Community members feel as though their concerns and ideas are not taken into consideration during the planning process, which can lead to a disconnect between the desired goals and the outcomes of the event. For successful event leveraging, many researchers note the value of gaining insights, opinions, and concerns from community members through the pre-event planning process, through the event, and through the feedback after the event (Misener & Schulenkorf, 2016; McPherson et al., 2017). By obtaining community member input and subsequent buy-in, allows for the social legacy agenda to be effectively leveraged to promote desired outcomes within the community. There is little research completed on parasport events specifically, and the potential to promote accessibility and inclusion within the community. With event objectives and goals of parasport aligning with the desired community outcomes, it would seem that there is an opportunity for leveraging strategies to promote desired outcomes within the community, to promote accessibility and inclusion of all community members. Within the parasport framework, there are unique opportunities for involvement, through job or volunteer opportunities such as officiating, greeting, scorekeeping, etc. for community members that also have disabilities. By promoting inclusive communities as a leveraging strategy, event planners can include community input, and provide long term sustainable community goals and opportunities for all to succeed within parasporting events. ConclusionAs we see an increased in utilizing parasport events as an opportunity to promote accessibility and inclusion within our community, the number of effective leveraging strategies and legacy agendas will increase, and application to the proposed frameworks will be applied. Parasport events present unique opportunities to leverage social change for the entire community when leveraging strategies are clearly aligned with the access and inclusion goals of that community. These goals must be specific to suit individual communities, but also must fit within a broader communal agenda and desired outcomes of the broader community (McPherson et al., 2017; Misener et al., 2018). There is a common consensus that hosting a parasport event would have some type of positive impact on the community (infrastructure, accessibility, enhancing disability awareness, participation in sport and parasport), however extensive research is yet to be explored (Misener et al., 2018).