The events industry has continually assessed the positive efforts and impacts of events. Events such as fundraisers and charity events have profound benefits – challenging societal norms and raising awareness for their respective causes. Hence, rather than focusing on events indisputably recognised to bring positive change, I will examine how events in sports, recreation, and corporate environments might also have positive social outcomes.
Sports and Positive Change
When evaluating whether a specific event can bring positive change, there is no minimum requirement for how direct or indirect the ‘change’ could be. Say, for example, the English premier league. From its roots, football was intended for leisure purposes. As the sport grew, movements such as Black Lives Matter have been directly involved and heavily enforced in professional football. Before the match starts, all players on the field must take a knee to support human equality (Evans et al. 2020). Further, this sends a message across the entire stadium and fans at home to stand up against racism and discrimination. Society also plays a significant role in creating positive change, as word of mouth spreads and thrives across online social platforms (Haynes et al., 2019). The LGBT community has also been recognised in football – the rainbow laces campaign is widely publicised in the media (Cleland, 2019). This campaign helped raise awareness of this growing community and created zero tolerance towards homophobia. Ultimately, people lack interest in societal issues that do not impact themselves; it is the responsibility of famous celebrities or athletes to educate the uneducated.
Paralympics is another event that brings positive change. This is boiled down to the athletes themselves – empowering the disabled community to achieve a more equitable society for the broader population of disabled people (Braye et al., 2015). The initial development of the Paralympic games took a while to develop; countries such as Japan deemed the idea of disabled athletes a dangerous idea (Frost, 2021). Highlighted from this example, an extreme change of existing phenomena was required for the event to become the spectacle it is today.
Corporate Events and Positive Change
At On Stage, we specialise in corporate events. Our clients need events to achieve organisational objectives. As mentioned numerous times in previous blog posts, the key to a successful event is not just achieving the entertainment objectives but must also serve a greater purpose. Whether that be to incentivise employees or project business direction, our events serve a vital purpose in fostering positive change. Through these events, benefits arise in the areas of increased employee morale, organisational togetherness, and a clear path for sustainable development. Recently the term ‘go green’ has received significant traction. With clients pushing for a sustainable future, many events advocate this message to event participants. Businesses must not only prosper financially but environmentally as well. Through our event service acting as a way to boost positive change – employees understand business sustainability agenda through events and take action to achieve set goals.
All Events = Positive Change
However, one question remains: can all events boost positive change? The simple answer is yes. Whether it be the atmosphere with other fans in football stadiums, the crowd cheering when athletes are competing, or a business owner presenting in front of their employees, this challenges social norms and encourages change. Let me ask you this – what events are not designed for social interaction, for people to engage with the event, or send a message to the audience in one way or another? I believe for an event to foster positive change, there must be a purpose, and that purpose is what creates an outcome of positive change.
Braye, S., Dixon, K. and Gibbons, T. (2015). The 2012 Paralympics and Perceptions of Disability in the UK. In The Impact of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games: Diminishing contrasts, increasing varieties. Springer, pp. 15–34.
Cleland, J. (2019). Britain’s first openly gay football referee: The story of Ryan Atkin. In LGBT athletes in the sports media. Springer, pp. 125–146.
Evans, A.B. et al. (2020). ‘Black Lives Matter:’sport, race and ethnicity in challenging times.
Frost, D.J. (2021). Tokyo’s Other Games The Origins and Impact of the 1964 Paralympics. In More Than Medals. Cornell University Press, pp. 12–51.
Haynes, C. et al. (2019). Black Deprivation, Black Resistance, and Black Liberation: the influence of# BlackLivesMatter (BLM) on higher education. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 32(9), pp.1067–1071.