What is the societal impact of elite sport? Measuring public perceptions through an innovative scale

De Rycke, J. (Speaker), De Bosscher, V. (Contributor)

Activiteit: Talk or presentation at a conference


Research question: As nations are increasingly investing public money in elite sport, policy makers are required to justify their decisions. A commonly used justification is that elite sport will trigger a wide range of benefits for the population. However, robust empirical evidence is limited and tools to evaluate the societal impact are lacking. Therefore, this study aimed to develop and test a quantitative measurement scale assessing the public’s perception of the positive and negative societal impact of elite sport.

Research methods: Scale development commenced by formulating items based on a total of 84 societal impacts of elite sport, detected during a systematic review. Next, a representative sample from the Belgian population (n=1102) was surveyed. An exploratory (EFA) followed by two confirmatory factor analyses (CFA) ware performed to assess and increase the scale’s adequacy. Multivariate analysis was employed to examine the role of contextual and individual variables.

Results and Findings: After a process of item exclusion, a 32-item model remained from which the goodness-of-fit indices were excellent, indicating high reliability. Furthermore, the results indicate that the Belgian population generally perceived more positive than negative societal impacts of elite sport.

Implications: The developed Measuring Elite Sports’ Societal Impact (MESSI) scale can serve as a useful tool for researchers seeking to measure the positive and negative impacts of elite sport to society and compare them across different nations. Moreover, the MESSI results could support evidence-based decision-making regarding elite sport investments.

 Key words: elite sport; elite sport policy; impact; outcomes; scale development

Periode15 dec 2017
Evenementstitel22ste VK Symposium 2017
LocatieBrussel, Belgium
Mate van erkenningRegional