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Event Impact Standards

Hosting major events results in short and long-term impacts which can lead to a net positive benefit to communities from the host area and beyond.  However, understanding the true value of these benefits can be confusing.

Therefore IAEH has worked with experienced event hosts, event owners and industry experts to provide the following guidance, and standard definitions, for measuring the impact of events and contributing to global sustainable development goals. IAEH members have made this guidance openly available and recommend that all research assessing impacts of major events aligns with it, whether for rights-owners, city or national governments, sports or arts organisations, tourism organisations, commercial sponsors, venues or charities.

The guidance also aligns with the OECD Recommendation on Global Events and Local Development, adopted at the Ministerial Council Meeting on 30 May 2018 by all 38 OECD member countries.  The Recommendation sets out internationally agreed framework conditions for realising sustainable global events.

Click on the headings below to navigate.


  1. Benefits to Investing Stakeholders
  2. Measuring Inputs and Outcomes over time
  3. Key Principles for Measurement
    a. Objective-driven
    b. Net additional benefit
    c. Evidence-based
  4. Measuring Return on Investment
  5. Sustainable Development and Legacy Outcomes
  6. Glossary of Terms


  1. Profile
    a. Demographic Segmentation
    b. Geography – local, national, international
  2. Size
    a. Attendance
    b. TV & Digital Audience
    c. News & Social Media
  3. Glossary of Terms


  1. Measuring Economic Benefit
  2. Possible Outcomes
    a. Tourism & Trade
    b. Infrastructure
    c. Image
  3. Glossary of Terms


  1. Planning Social Impact
  2. Possible Outcomes
    a. Community Development
    b. Health & Wellbeing
    c. Human Rights
  3. Inputs
    a. Public Engagement
    b. Related Participation Programmes
    c. Volunteering
    d. Workforce
    e. Home Performance
  4. Glossary of Terms


  1. Integrating Environmental Considerations
  2. Possible Outcomes
    a. Environmental Quality
    b. Climate Action
  3. Inputs
    a. Waste
    b. Energy
    c. Water
    d. Transport
    e. Natural Capital
  4. Glossary of Terms
  • Directors and Members of the International Association of Event Hosts
  • David Stubbs, Independent Sustainability Expert
  • European Sponsorship Association
  • International Association of Impact Assessment
  • Media Intelligence Service, European Broadcasting Union
  • Martin Wallstam, Dimitri Ioannides & Robert Pattersson, Department of Tourism Studies and Geography, Mid Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden
  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Professor Don Getz, University of Calgary, Canada – Event Evaluation, Event Impact Assessment, Goodfellow Publishers, Oxford, UK, 2018
  • Richard Coleman, Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre, UK
  • Sportcal GSI

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