Why should Olympic Festivals’ organisers invest in the evaluation of their events? Why is it crucial for the sustainability of their events, for their image and financial viability? Why a strategic approach is a must, and why the evaluation and its results are very important for communications purposes? This chapter tackles all these questions and provides its readers with useful evaluation tools.

Evaluation of the Olympic Festivals Pyeongchang 2018

Pilot Comparative Study of the Olympic Festivals 2018

  • Authors: Researchers of Palacky University in Olomouc (Department of Social Sciences in Kinanthropology, Faculty of Physical Culture)                                              
  • Subjects: Brno and Ostrava (Czech Republic), Rogla (Slovenia) and Grenoble (France)
  • Aims: To bring forward comparative qualitative and quantitative results, and test the evaluation methodology, adapt it to the needs of the OFs, and prepare evaluation tools which can be used by future OFs organisers.  

Event Study on OF 2018 Brno and Ostrava

  • Authors: Sportcal, world-leading provider of sports market intelligence.                                          
  • Subjects: OF Ostrava, partially OF Brno
  • Aims: To understand better sponsors’ and partners’ involvement in, and their experience with, the event, and provide an external assessment of the Olympic Festival’s organisation.


Why to evaluate your event 

To improve event management

  • Tracking and measuring progress improves any form of management – if you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it.

To build an organisational memory and enable a learning process

  • The evaluation process and the data and information stemming therefrom contribute to building a “project’s/event’s memory”, which enables the transfer of knowledge from one generation of the event to another, as well as from one organiser to others.
  • It can enhance cost effectiveness – avoiding the same mistakes, improving processes, building on good practices.

To get a holistic view of the events’ impact

  • Event organisers and hosts frequently underestimate the true impact of their events, which often goes well beyond the direct economic impact and consist of intangible, for example, societal benefits.

To demonstrate the return on investment

  • A holistic evaluation of the event provides organisers with information, data and assessment which is of great interest to the main stakeholders, and will help the organisers to promote the value of the Olympic Festival to potential future host cities/regions and sponsors/partners (good “lobbying” material).

To enhance the positive image of the Olympic Festival and link to Olympic Values - communications

  • The evaluation of the Olympic Festival will yield much communications-worthy information which could and should be used in the promotion of the OF and its future editions.
  • The evaluation should bring results which will underline the embedment of the Olympic Festival in the Olympic movement and the implementation of Olympic values.
  • For more information, see the Sustainability chapter.


Plan, prepare and be strategic in the evaluation of your Olympic Festival

  • Define what you want to achieve (KPIs) at the beginning of the planning process and measure whether you have achieved it at the end (compare objectives with real results).
  • Evaluation has to be considered an integral part of the event management cycle – include it in your planning at the very beginning.  
  • Dedicate appropriate resources (financial and human) to the evaluation process. Decide which tools and methods you will use and reflect it in the budget (e.g. hiring an external evaluator).

Implement a step-by-step (gradual) approach

  • The scope of the evaluation exercise should reflect the size, budget and duration of the Olympic Festival as well as the experience of its organiser.
  • Prioritise. Select the most important aspects/sectors at first and gradually build on those in the future.
  • However, it is strongly suggested that the following areas be included in any evaluation: economic impact, stakeholder involvement and satisfaction, visitors’ satisfaction, internal organisational performance, and, if possible, environmental impact.  

Do not forget about qualitative evaluation

  • Narrative description is as important as quantitative data, especially when assessing the social impact or legacy of the Olympic Festival.
  • Often, contribution to social development cannot be expressed in bare numbers.

Consider involving respected and experienced external evaluators in the process

  • They will add more (external) credibility to the results, since external evaluators are considered to be impartial professionals with no vested interest in the outcome of the research.
  • They have the necessary expertise you may be lacking in your organisations – e.g. the economic and sociological analysis, or the evaluation of social impact.

Consider well what you communicate, how and to whom


What we evaluate and how

The list below represents the “maximum version” of the evaluation. Prioritise and gradually build up the various modules.

  • Internal/external
  • Internal
  • External

Global economic impact

  • To ensure economic viability of the event
  • To ensure sustainability of the event – make the event attractive to host cities/regions and sponsors/partners from the economic point of view – showcase that there is ROI for them (including, possibly, creation of new jobs, economic growth, tourism etc.)
  • Detailed accounting and audit
  • Economic impact analysis – external  provider
  • Visitors’ survey

Stakeholders’ involvement

  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Stakeholder’s satisfaction
  • To assess whether the cooperation and involvement of the main stakeholders (host city/region, sponsors/partners, sport organisations) fulfilled the organiser’s expectations and whether the main KPI’s were achieved.
  • To evaluate stakeholders’ satisfaction with the event and find out whether their participation and investment met their objectives (will they want to take part again?)
  • Debriefing with all main stakeholders  - individual approach is of significant  importance, but group assessment can also bring an added value
  • Stakeholders’ survey
  • Interviews by an external evaluator
  • Brand visibility/exposure – visitors’ survey and media monitoring

Visitors’ satisfaction – event experience

  • To assess whether organiser’s KPI’s, such as the number of visitors or the reaching of the target groups have been met.
  • To learn about visitors’ experience and perception regarding all possible aspects of the event (set-up, facilities, activities, transport etc.) to be able to enhance future editions of the event.
  • To find out which activities were the most/least popular and how likely people are/would be to continue with the sport activity they have tried.
  • To assess the impact of the Olympics- and Olympic education-related activities
  • To assess the perception of the various partners’ brands by the visitors, including the perception of the brand of Olympic Festivals
  • To gather demographic data and tourism-related data. (= to know who the visitors are)
  • To provide stakeholders with an added value for their participation – data on brand perception, experience with activities, future participation in the (sport activities) etc.
  • To find out how likely visitors would be to visit an Olympic Festival in the future – sustainability aspect.
  • Visitors’ survey (at the venue and/or online)
  • Observation at the venue
  • Media monitoring

Internal organisational performance

  • To identify and assess good practices as well as weaker spots in order to improve the organisational performance in the future.
  • To ensure the transfer of know-how for future editions.
  • To assess whether KPIs such as the number of activities, have been achieved.
  • Regular meetings of the organising committee during the event and detailed debriefing after the event.
  • Assessing the KPIs – management
  • Interviews with staff and volunteers – possibly external


  • To assess the event’s media exposure and to determine its media value (AVE – advertising value equivalency) – very important for all stakeholders.
  • To determine whether KPIs in terms of media exposure and cooperation with various media outlets have been achieved.
  • To find out what the reach of the event was in social media (number of likes, shares, comments, tweets etc.) and how especially the young generation perceived it.
  • To assess what the general image of the event was in the media, and to what extent the organisers managed to mediatise the event’s embedment in Olympic values and ideals.


  • To find out what impact the event had on tourism in the host/city regio
  • To provide  quantified information (as an added value) to the city/region
  • To enhance the global economic impact calculation.
  • To find out more about the demographic representation of Olympic Festival’s visitors.
  • Visitors’ survey
  • Media and social media monitoring
  • Economic analysis (external evaluators)

Environmental impact

  • To determine what the environmental footprint of the event was.
  • To improve environmental sustainability of future editions of the Olympic Festival – learning process
  • External evaluation – certification process and/or using tools such as the sustainability compass – For more information, see the Sustainability chapter

Social impact

  • To determine whether KPIs in terms of involved schools and children, quality and popularity of Olympic-education-related activities, number of volunteers etc. have been met.
  • To find out what the reach of the event was beyond its venue.
  • To assess the accessibility and openness of the venue and its activities to people with special needs, and those from a disadvantaged background.
  • Observation at the event
  • Stakeholders’ satisfaction survey + reports from schools, NGOs, clubs and other stakeholders
  • Long-term tracking of activities/initiatives at local level (close cooperation with the municipality/region)
  • External analysis – external evaluator (economic value of the social impact)

Methods and tools

General tools

Visitors’ survey

  • It should be conducted during the event, preferably during several days, including week-days and weekends.
  • Participation of a sponsor (competition for goodies from the sponsor) can substantially increase the response rate.
  • The survey can be done as a combination of a short questionnaire at the venue followed by a more detailed one via email (e-mail addresses collected from the visitors – do not forget about the obligations under the EU GDPR).
  • It is advisable to use electronic means such as Google Forms or Survey Monkey.                    
  • Example of survey questions in the pdf file.                                                                                                                                      

Stakeholders’ interview

  • It is recommended to do on-site interviews as well as post-event ones in order to discuss with stakeholders their overall impression.
  • Part of the interviews can be conducted via email, phone or an online questionnaire.
  • The interviews can also be conducted as a debriefing with a group of stakeholders.
  • Who should be interviewed? – Representatives of the host city/region, sponsors, organising committee members, volunteers, representatives of sport organisations and possibly other stakeholders.
  • Example of interviews questions per group of stakeholders – see the pdf file.                                                                                      

Event observation

  • Preferably conducted by somebody who is not involved in the organisation of the event. 
  • Example of the event observation form - see the pdf file.                                                                                                                   

Media monitoring

Working with external evaluators 

  • External evaluators (universities, consultancies, economists etc.) can play a very important role in shaping and managing the evaluation, in the design of instruments or data analyses, as well as in interpreting the results of the evaluation. It is therefore critical to reflect on how to best identify, choose, and work with external evaluators.
  • A good overview is provided on the MEERA website.

Basic steps

  • Decide which elements of your event’s evaluation you would want to entrust to external evaluators, and describe the expected responsibilities.
  • Find the right evaluator for your purposes
    • Consider organisations and individuals with whom you have already worked on other projects.
    • Consult databases and specialised (public) organisations and NGOs for areas such as the environment – fore more information, see the Sustainability chapter.
    • Consider working with universities which have experience in evaluating sport-related events and projects, including from a sociological point of view (visitors’ surveys etc.).
    • It may prove valuable to involve graduate students of communications, statistics, sociology or psychology, especially with regard to the observation and visitors’ surveys.
    • Consult the following list for tips on which questions you should ask the potential candidates.

Working with the evaluator

  • Tips on structuring the work relationship into several basic stages (1. Initial meeting, 2. Contract, 3. Project management, 4. Providing feedback, 5. Payment 6., Deliverables, 7. Evaluating or debriefing the evaluation project) are detailed in this handbook (pgs. 90-95).

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