Skip to main content

ELITE SPORT AS SOCIETAL ASSET

ELITE SPORT AS SOCIETAL ASSET: A FLEMISH SOCIETAL BAROMETER

Project summary

The Olympic Games are recognized as the pinnacle of events by many nations that can affect society in many ways. In 2018, researchers from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel have developed the ‘Mapping Elite Sports’ potential Societal Impact’ (MESSI) model, that clusters all positive and negative societal values of elite sport into the following ten dimensions (De Rycke et al., 2019): (1) Social equality and inclusion; (2) Collective identity and pride; (3) Ethics and fair play; (4) Feel good and passion; (5) Fans and (media) attraction; (6) International prestige and image; (7) Athletes’ ability and quality of life; (8) Sport participation and health; (9) Sponsors and commercial activity; (10) Local consumption and living conditions. 

Accordingly, using a validated scale this project measures the public’s perception on the positive and negative societal impact of elite sport before the Tokyo Olympic Games, immediately after the Games and after a longer time. As the Belgian population are taxpayers and thus indirect sports funders, it is important to recognise how they perceive the value of elite sport as well as the effects that Olympic games may have on society.

Period :

2020 – 2021 

Funded by :

Sport Vlaanderen 

Research team :

Jens de Rycke, Veerle De Bosscher, Sebastiaan de Cocq & Margot Ricour