Steve Beasant

Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Great Grimsby and Councillor for the East Marsh Learn more

Olympic Games legacy boosts economy by billions

by Steve Beasant on 19 July, 2013

London 2012 Games legacy impact report published shows Games could generate up to £41 billion by 2020

Hosting the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games could generate up to a £41 billion gross value added (GVA) windfall to the economy by 2020, Culture Secretary Maria Miller announced today.

The new data from a consortium led by independent research firm Grant Thornton, commissioned by DCMS, found that since the bid was won in 2005 and the end of 2012 over £28 billion in GVA was generated from the London 2012 project. It added that there is up to a further £13 billion that can be gained over the next seven years as the government and Mayor of London’s legacy plans ramp up.

Inward investment

The 2012 Games meta-evaluation report also shows that £10 billion worth of inward investment and trade deals have been struck as a result of London 2012 since the Games, almost beating the £11 billion four-year target in just 12 months.


High spending from overseas visitors in the UK for the Olympics meant that there was net economic growth of £600 million to the visitor economy during Games time, excluding ticket sales, with sustained future growth for tourism forecast due to perceptions of Britain improving as a result of the Games.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller said:

“London 2012 showed the very best of Britain and hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games has delivered huge economic benefits to the country.

“We sat squarely on the centre of the world stage and last summer allowed us to showcase our incredible country, resulting in more growth, investment and a boost for tourism. However this is just the start, we have a 10 year legacy plan and we must continue to make the very most of the opportunities the Games gave us.”

“Positive start” to legacy journey

IOC President Jacques Rogge acknowledged the progress the UK has made with its legacy a year on from London 2012.

Rogge said:

“The memories of the sporting achievements of London 2012 are still fresh in the minds of those of us that witnessed the exploits of Hoy, Ainslie, Ennis, Farah, Adams, Murray, and Jones last summer. For the 2012 generation, these Olympic Games have inspired them to view sport in a new light and to better understand the Olympic values of excellence, friendship, and respect.

“The International Olympic Committee understands though that the Games are about more than just 16 days of exceptional sporting competition. They are also a catalyst to help a city and country achieve its developmental aims and this is why we ask cities interested in hosting the Games to think long and hard about the legacy that they want to achieve from welcoming the world to their back yard.

“London did exactly that and by the time of their Games candidature, the London organisers already had a firm and highly detailed vision of what they wanted to deliver in 2012 and beyond. They were committed to help people connect to sport by focusing the world’s attention on sports’ greatest athletes and giving today’s young people better access to sports facilities, competition, coaching and sporting events.

“They also knew that London 2012 was an opportunity to help develop numerous areas economically, socially, and sustainably. This report shows that a positive start to the legacy journey that London will be on for the next 20 years or more has been made. Congratulations London and keep up the good work.”

Facts and figures

The meta-evaluation report also found that:

  • More of us are participating in sport because of the Games, with 1.5 million more adults participating in sport and recreational activity since 2005/06.
  • The Games inspired a generation of children and young people, with half of 11-15 yr olds and a third of 5-10yr olds saying it motivated them to do more sport.
  • The Games were the catalyst for improved elite sporting performance in the UK, driving changes to the management of elite performance which, with increased funding, resulted in medal success.
  • The 2012 Games set new standards for sustainability, both in construction and events management.
  • The Games improved attitudes to disability and provided new opportunities for disabled people to participate in society, with unprecedented coverage and viewership of the Paralympics and 62% of people stating that they felt the Games will reduce prejudice.
  • Communities across the UK engaged with the Games, including 15 million people seeing the Torch Relay and 43 million Cultural Olympiad attendances.
  • The Games has increased enthusiasm for volunteering, as 20% of Games Makers volunteered for the first time and 45% indicated they would volunteer more in the future.
  • The Games accelerated the physical transformation of East London, delivering the Park itself and numerous catalysed investments such as Westfield.
  • Socio-economic change in East London has been shaped by the Games, with East London closing the gap on the rest of London on a range of socio-economic indicators.
  • The Games delivered many strategic benefits and lessons learnt across all levels of Government, particularly driving new ways of working together.

Karl Eddy, Partner and Head of the National Government and Infrastructure Advisory team at Grant Thornton UK LLP, said:

“The Games were undoubtedly a success for the UK; not least in the medals tables, but also for the broader economy. From analysing the material impact the Games have had across the UK, it’s clear that the investments made as host nation have already reaped substantial returns – both financial and cultural – and have set the foundations for an even stronger legacy in the years to come.

“Capturing the data for the study, and indeed, providing an analysis on the Games’ legacy, has offered a truly unique and inspiring insight into the impact which mega-events like the Games can have on a host nation. The tangible economic rewards derived from the Games, along with the reputational and sporting legacy left behind, will surely position London 2012 as a strong contender for the most successful Games in modern memory. The methodology for the study, developed in partnership with DCMS, represents best practice for host cities and provides a basis upon which the future performance of every Games can be assessed.”

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