Research co-produced by the University of Westminster and the University of South Australia has revealed that the vast majority of those who visited the 2012 Olympic Games were satisfied with their experience. The research also found a high percentage plan to participate in the sports they watched and many intend to revisit the venues.

Ninety five percent of English people living outside of London who visited the Games this summer were satisfied with their Olympic experience. Ninety four per cent of visitors from Scotland/ Wales/ Northern Ireland, 92% of international visitors and 91% of Londoners were also satisfied with their experiences at the event. Overall, 93% of those surveyed were satisfied.

Out of the international visitors surveyed, eighty five per cent thought that the events could not have been staged at better venues and 78% said they now planned to visit tourism attractions in London over the next 12 months. Eighty four per cent of those travelling from outside London agreed that it was a pleasure to spend time in London during the Games.

The research team surveyed spectators in three key locations, each representing a different type of venue; the Aquatics Centre, a permanent venue built for the 2012 Games; Greenwich Park, a temporary venue for equestrian and pentathlon events and Wimbledon, already an established sports venue.

Summary of findings

  • 93% were satisfied with their experience at the event
    • 95% at Aquatics Centre
    • 92% at Greenwich Park
    • 88% at Wimbledon
  • 87% agreed the events were staged at the best possible venues
    • 85% at Aquatics Centre
    • 81% at Greenwich Park
    • 94% at Wimbledon
  • 80% of those watching events at the Aquatics Centre thought the venue would be seen as a symbol of the 2012 Games and 85% of those surveyed thought the venue captured the true spirit of the Olympics.
  • 69% of those visiting Greenwich Park thought that the venue would be seen as a symbol of the Games but just 47% of those visiting Wimbledon felt that it would be seen as a symbol of the Games.
  • 43% of spectators in Greenwich Park said they intended to revisit in the next year, while the figure for Wimbledon was 60% (visits to the Aquatics Centre will only be possible from March 2014).
  • Of the first time visitors to London surveyed, 72% said they would visit London again in the next 12 months.

Graham Brown, Professor of Tourism at the University of South Australia and Dr Andrew Smith, city tourism expert at the University of Westminster were granted permission to do the work by the International Olympic Committee and LOCOG. A team of students from the University of Westminster assisted Dr Smith and Professor Brown, with each member of the team receiving accreditation to access the venues. The project aimed to explore spectator experiences and how these related to personal involvement with both sport and the venue. It also aimed to establish future intentions; both in terms of tourism visits and sports participation.

There was also some indication of the inspiring effect sought by organisers:

  • Of those at the swimming events, 36% were regular swimmers but after the event, 56% stated that they would swim regularly for fun over the next 12 months.
  • At the equestrian events, 49% were regular horse riders but after the event 57% stated they would ride regularly for fun over the next 12 months.
  • At the tennis, 29% were regular players, but after the event 44% stated they would play regularly for fun over the next 12 months.

The research highlighted some interesting differences between venues. A high proportion of spectators in Greenwich were dedicated enthusiasts of equestrian sport, whereas the Aquatics Centre and Wimbledon were frequented by more casual followers of the sports on display. The swimming seemed to be the most inspiring event; with many spectators indicating they now intend to become regular swimmers.

Dr Andrew Smith, city tourism expert at the University of Westminster, said: “It will be some time before we have a full understanding of the findings, however, our preliminary analysis suggests positive outcomes for London 2012 organisers.  Those attending the events were very satisfied with their experiences and impressed with the venues. Attending the 2012 Olympic Games may have changed future tourism / leisure intentions, indicating an inspiring effect of the Games.

“However, we should remember that these results were derived from research undertaken in the positive afterglow of an event; and what people say they will do is often very different from what they actually do.”

About the research

The research was conducted from 29 July - 3 August by a team of eight researchers who were accredited to do research in three venues. The research involved spectators filling out a detailed questionnaire after viewing an event - the team collected 603 completed surveys across the three venues. One hundred and eighty four surveys were undertaken at Wimbledon, 185 at the Aquatics Centre and 234 at Greenwich Park. The results here are basic, preliminary findings only, with more detailed findings due to be published in 2013.

For further information please contact:

Sarah Evans-Toyne, Lianne Robinson or Chiara Barreca
Broadgate Mainland
E: [email protected]
T: +44(0) 20 7726 6111

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