For several years, sport-for-development (SFD) programs have been implemented around the world to make a positive difference for disadvantaged or underprivileged communities. Within this context, special events have been used to complement regular development activities to celebrate social, cultural, and sporting achievements. To date, little managerial work has been conducted on the specific contributions that special events can play in the context of ongoing SFD endeavors. In addressing this issue, this paper presents findings from an empirical investigation of a participatory SFD event in the Pacific Islands. Findings suggest that special events can create new interest and excitement for SFD activities, reengage stakeholders to the wider SFD program, leverage partnerships, and provide opportunities to build and shape local management capacity. In discussing these findings, the paper highlights potential positive and negative impacts of special SFD events and provides practical and theoretical implications for SFD program design, management, and leverage.
Nico Schulenkorf is with the Business School, Sport Management, University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo, NSW, Australia.