The Olympics legacy

Max KowalewskiJunior Research Executive
October 13, 2012, 8:00 AM GMT+0

Opinion formers overwhelmingly see positive impact of Olympic Games in the UK

A week after the dust at the Olympic Park had settled after the Paralympics, YouGov surveyed its panel of 4,000 UK opinion formers to examine perceptions of the London 2012 Games.

It is perhaps no surprise that respondents are hugely positive about the Games with 96% believing that they have had a positive effect on the image of the UK internationally. They are also very positive about the legacy left by the Games: two thirds believe that they delivered a ‘Sporting inspiration for young Britons’, and also the successful ‘Regeneration of a deprived part of London’.

Just under half also see that ‘a skillset for delivering large-scale infrastructure projects’ has been achieved, though 44% are concerned about the cost of the whole thing, while 39% are expecting a legacy of greater British sporting success for years to come.

These findings are in sharp contrast with the responses to an almost identical question asked of the panel in May 2012. Back then, respondents were pessimistic about the legacy of the Olympics: the top choice was ‘a large bill for British tax payers’ (56%), followed by success regeneration of the area. Expectations regarding legacy was low, indeed 40% selected ‘no tangible benefits outside London’.

This picture has now reversed – scores for positive legacy indicators have gone up across the board, whereas negative judgements decreased, as the Games exceeded the opinion formers’ expectations.

This is mirrored in findings from YouGov’s SportsIndex, which tracks the public’s views of 50 sporting events covering 17 sports. Until the start of the Games the Index scores were low, only to leap up as the events began. Initial pessimism melted away as the spectacle of the Games and their successful delivery lifted the mood.

Opinion formers also believe the Games were delivered well: 98% think the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games have been run successfully.

Respondents are also very positive about the quality of the coverage of the Games. 89% state that the BBC did a ‘good job’ broadcasting the Olympics; only 3% think it did a ‘poor job’. Figures are also positive, but slightly lower, for Channel 4’s broadcasting of the Paralympics: 68% believe the channel did a good job, with just 9% negative of its coverage despite some early criticism.

See more on Opinion Formers Omnibus