Published: 07th Feb 2024 Images: Scottish Cycling

Event impact study showcases 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships success

New independent report highlights the socio-economic benefits of the inaugural UCI Cycling World Championships and the transformative ‘Power of the Bike’

The inaugural 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships delivered significant social, economic and environmental benefits for Glasgow, Scotland and the UK according to an independent study published today (7 February).

Delivered by EY (Ernst & Young), the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships socio-economic impact evaluation report highlights the positive impact across three key outcome areas including economic impact, social contribution and sustainability.

Results achieved include:

  • £344m of incremental spend resulting in £205m Gross Value Added (GVA) economic impact for Scotland
  • £129m GVA for Glasgow and £214m GVA for the UK
  • Total fulltime equivalent employment (FTE) supported by the event included 5,285 jobs in Scotland, 3,312 jobs in Glasgow and 5,878 jobs in the UK
  • £220m Total Visitor Spend in Scotland
  • £6m so far invested across all 32 local authorities in Scotland
  • 97% of attendees found the event inclusive
  • 95% of Scottish spectators felt proud that Scotland was hosting the event
  • 82% of spectators used a form of active travel during the event

The impact was measured through extensive data gathered through both primary and secondary research, together with benchmarks from EY’s extensive global experience of delivering cycling and sporting event economic impact studies, including in Europe and Australia.

Economic contribution

In addition to GVA and employment impacts, the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships

successfully engaged a global audience, profiling Scotland as a tourism destination and a world-leading major event host. Key findings highlighted:

  • Total cumulative attendance of just over 1 million spectators over the 11 days of the event
  • 91% of spectators likely to recommend Scotland as a holiday destination
  • On average, spectators attended 3.2 days of the event with the highest attendance taking place on Sunday 6 August when 356,000 spectators attended across seven UCI World Championships events
  • 537m TV audience
  • Broadcast in 130 countries, totalling around 14,000 hours of programming.
  • Around 200 million hours were watched live on television globally over 11 days – 78% more hours watched than the combined average for a typical year of separate UCI World Championships between 2017 and 2022
  • Significant social media impact reaching 28.6 million people through their own social channel, 4 million event website views, 20.6 million video views, over 600 million people reached through mentions on social media, and 1.9 billion unique impressions of the #glasgowscotland2023 and #powerofthebike tags on social media
  • The event had 1,000 items of global press coverage reaching over 1.5 billion people, with an 81% positive sentiment in media coverage

A catalyst for positive change

The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships had inclusion at its core, actively making a positive difference to the lives of others by harnessing the power of the bike to build a more inclusive Scotland.  In addition to the full integration of para-cycling road and track into the competition schedule and the Women Elite road race bringing the curtain down on the event after 11 days of exhilarating action, key social contribution findings highlighted:

  • 93% of spectators with long-standing physical or mental impairments, illness or disability felt the event was accessible
  • 93% of teams agreed that the 2023 UCI Cycling Worlds was a world-class event strengthening the successful delivery of an innovative event that provides a model for the future
  • A sense of civic pride shone through with 95% of Scottish spectators feeling proud about hosting the event
  • 93% of stakeholders intend to continue event related activities
  • 40% of spectators were female
  • 91% of spectators said the event improved their awareness of Scotland’s cycling facilities
  • 79% of Scottish spectators were inspired to cycle more

Volunteers play vital role

An amazing team of 3,500 volunteers, representing 73 nationalities delivered over 63 thousand hours of support to the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships and were a critical element of the success of the event, elevating the spectator experience.  The report indicated that 27% of volunteers wanted to be involved with the 2023 UCI Cycling Worlds to gain new skills, which was achieved with over 11,000 hours of training completed by volunteers.

Sustainability at the core

The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships underlined its ambition to be a leader in environmental innovation and sustainable development in sport by becoming a signatory of the United Nations Sports for Climate Change Action Framework.

The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships were focused on enhancing climate change awareness and sustainability upskilling, encouraging the use of sustainable transport (45% of fleet vehicles were hybrid or EV/ 35% of workforce vehicles were bikes), waste being diverted from landfill, energy use from renewable sources, as well as sustainability standards being a core part of the procurement process.  Key report findings found that:

  • 86% of stakeholders, including those from government, sporting bodies, and environmental bodies, felt the 2023 UCI Cycling Worlds were delivered in an environmentally responsible way.
  • As a global event, carbon-intensive methods of travel were unavoidable. However, 35% of competing teams have used or intend to use a means of offsetting their carbon footprint in relation to their travel to the event

UCI President David Lappartient said: “The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow and across Scotland were an unprecedented success at every level. As the EY report shows, this success extends beyond sport, to the economy, tourism and sustainable development.

“An event like the one we experienced in August 2023 leads to long-term benefits for the host communities and their residents. We are all the more pleased because, well before it took place, this was the event’s main objective: to delight those who love sport, but also to ensure that the power of the bike would enable the organisers of the UCI Cycling World Championships to achieve broader objectives related to development, wellbeing, and health.”

Culture Secretary Angus Robertson said: “The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships stand as a testament to the benefits that major events can bring to our communities across Scotland.

“This report showcases the powerful legacy of the event, one that extends beyond simply winning medals – it boosted the economy and inspired healthier lifestyles.

“The event successfully connected with a global audience. With a million attendees, and over 1.5 billion people reached through media coverage, it not only showcased sporting excellence, but also reaffirmed Scotland’s place as the perfect stage to host major events.”

Paul Bush OBE, Chair of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships said:

“We set our ambitions high to create something truly spectacular for the athletes, the fans and for the wider community with the first-ever combined UCI Cycling World Championships.  The study underlines that this event was about much more than eleven days of incredible performance, it delivered a variety of social, economic and environmental benefits, setting a benchmark for future editions and paving the way for positive longer-term change.

“Scotland’s reputation as the perfect stage for events is recognised nationally and internationally, and its enviable global reputation as a major events powerhouse was further reinforced as a result of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships.   Events of this scale not only provide the opportunity to create memorable experiences, but they have the power to connect, inspire and transcend boundaries.”

Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “From the first race to the last; riders, fans and officials told us that the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships would go down in history as not only the biggest, but one of the greatest ever held.

“Now we can see in black and white just what that means for the city – not only economically, but in terms of civic pride, our global reputation as a leading events host and as a catalyst for change.

“One of the big themes of the event was ‘The Power of the Bike’. For Glasgow, that will continue to be the chance to make an already great city more vibrant and healthier; accessible, active and connected.”

Esther Britten, Head of Major Events at UK Sport said:The inaugural 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships showcased an outstanding 11 days of sport across Scotland, and UK Sport are delighted to have worked with partners across the UK to deliver this incredible event – a global first for the sport of cycling.

“Hosting major events like this continues to demonstrate the UK’s reputation as one of the world’s leading hosts, creating extraordinary sporting moments that reach, unite and inspire the nation.

“We are delighted The National Lottery investment into the event ensured the biggest cycling event in history delivered meaningful social, economic and environmental benefits for Scotland and the UK, making a positive difference to the lives of others and their local communities.”

British Cycling CEO, Jon Dutton OBE, said: “We always knew that the true power of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships would be in the legacy it left behind. Through the millions invested in community facilities in Scotland, the thousands finding opportunities to ride through clubs and events across Britain, and the millions left awestruck by the unique joy and thrills of our sport across the world, this event delivered in spades.”

Reuben Oakley, British Cyclist, said: “Being part of a home World Championship was undoubtedly the highlight of my career, made even more special by the fact it was the first time a combined Cycling Worlds had taken place. The crowds across Scotland were incredible, and I’ve no doubt it will have inspired people to get on their bikes, and opened their eyes to the many forms of cycling.”

The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships Socio-economic report delivered by EY is available to download here