Measuring the Impact of International Sports Organisations on the Nation


Case in Point: Measuring the Economic Impact of International Sports Organisations on the Nation

The Client: International Olympic Committee, City of Lausanne, and Canton of Vaud

The Brief:  To coincide with the centennial anniversary of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) being headquarted in Lausanne, the City of Lausanne, the Canton of Vaud and the IOC commissioned the AISTS to undertake a study to help illuminate the impact of international sports organisation on the national economy.

The study would aim to cover a six-year period - between 2008 and 2013 - and involve the participation of all international sport organisations with a presence in Switzerland.

It would also attempt for the first time to understand the importance of international sports organisations beyond the financial contribution by surveying the sentiment of Swiss residents on their local presence.

The Solution:

At the start, the AISTS team engaged two independent experts, Professor Jean-Jacques Dethier (Georgetown University and University of Bonn) and Professor Stéphane Garelli (IMD and University of Lausanne) to review and validate the methodology, analysis and findings to ensure the most robust, rigorous and independent study possible.

Commencing in June 2014, the study took 10 months to complete, from verifiying the methodology, setting up the framework for the study, data collection, analysis to the writing and translating of the report. Much of the efforts involved direct contact with the relevant individuals from all international sports organisations in Switzerland.

For the qualitative aspect of the study, the AISTS worked closely with a market research company to survey over 1,000 Swiss residents on the perception of the international sports organisations. 

The main focus of the study were devoted to investigating:

  • The average economic impact of international sports organisation and their visitors to the country, the canton and the Lausanne region;
  • The impact from employment and business tourism; and
  • The perception of the IOC and international sports organisations by Swiss residents

The study was produced as an online and printed document, which was made freely available in both English and French. An abbreviated version of the study was also produced.

The end result:

  1. A 57-page independent report made available to the public in both French and English
  2. Successfully involving the participation of all but one international sports organisation with a presence in Switzerland, making it one of the most comprehensive and revealing studies of its kind to date
  3. Raised awareness by stakeholders, including policy makers, of the significance of these organisations on the nation, which up until now has been possibly undervalued.

Our highlights:

  • Being part of the IOC centennial anniversary initiatives
  • Helping to highlight the importance of international sports organisations on the nation
  • Catching the attention of the worldwide media including, Le Monde, Montreal Metro, Le Temps and Eurosport.

Words from our clients:

International Olympic Committee

"In 2014, the AISTS was co-mandated by the International Olympic Committee to carry out a study on the economic impact that international sports organisations (ISOs) headquartered in the region, bring to the City of Lausanne, the Canton of Vaud and Switzerland. This was a follow-up mandate to a previous study undertaken by AISTS in 2008 on ISOs in the Lemanic Arc.

The main challenge of the project was that financial and HR figures needed to be collected from a large number of sports organisations in the country. For the latest study the AISTS project team had to collaborate closely with no less than 45 organisations, which included many exchanges and follow-ups and a very rigorous data collection and analysis procedure in short timelines given.

The key principles defined at the beginning of the project, being transparency of the methodology, independency of the research and confidentiality of the data gathered was fully respected and the final report was delivered on-time and in a high quality format.

The AISTS team managed this project to our fullest satisfaction and demonstrated expertise, professionalism, efficiency and reactivity throughout the project.

Ms Maria Bogner, Head of the IOC Olympic Studies Centre, International Olympic Committee 

City of Lausanne

This mandate was much broader and more comprehensive than the previous study that was completed in 2008, and that meant it posed very specific challenges.

The AISTS team took ownership of the project, they demonstrated commitment to the ultimate goal and above all else, they were able to to deliver on time without comprising the quality of the project.  The end result: the study was as comprehensive, rigorous and indepdendent as it could be – which were essential to the success of the mandate. 

Mr Patrice Iseli, Head of Sport, City of Lausanne 

Canton of Vaud

"It was particularly important for us to partner with the AISTS on this study for a number of reasons. One of the key reasoning was that it ensured the continuity of a similar study which was conducted back in 2008 by the AISTS team.

Employing the same methodology and  analytical framework allowed us to compare the data over time, which provided much more insight into understanding the economic impact of international sports organisations on the confederation. 

AISTS’s expertise in this area goes without saying. What defines them apart is their ability to communicate the results in a way that is accessible, understandable and credible to not only our multiple stakeholders but also to a wider and general audience.

We believe in our long-term partnership with the AISTS, and look forward to working with their team again.   

Mr Nicolas Imhof, Head of Physical Education and Sport, Canton of Vaud  


AISTS Founders