With an increasing emphasis on the social value of sport and events, there has been a shift in focus regarding the management and development process of event projects as well as their associated outcomes. This shift is about emphasizing a more strategic approach to developing social benefits by recognizing and utilizing leverageable resources related to sport events as a means of fostering lasting social and economic change (Chalip, 2006; O’Brien & Chalip, 2007; Schulenkorf & Edwards, 2012). In this paper, we adapt and apply the asset-based community development (ABCD) approach as a means of developing a more action-oriented, community-based approach to leveraging the social assets of sporting events. In applying the ABCD approach, we aim to shift the focus of event-led projects away from attempts to “solve” social problems (i.e., deficit perspective) to enhancing the existing strengths of communities (i.e., strengths perspective). We reflect on case study findings that highlight the challenges and opportunities in realizing an ABCD approach for disadvantaged communities through an examination of a healthy lifestyle community event initiative in the Pacific Islands.
Misener is with the School of Kinesiology, Western University, London, ON, Canada. Schulenkorf is with the Management Discipline Group, University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo, NSW, Australia.