IAAF World Championships London 2017 named Sportcal’s Global Sports Event 2017
by Colin Stewart & Tim Rollason
The IAAF World Championships London 2017 has been named Sportcal’s Global Sports Event of the Year after topping the GSI Events Index ahead of FISU’s Summer Universiade 2017 (Taipei City) and the 2017 FINA World Championships (Budapest)
17th April 2018, 07:58

In the closest contest in the history of the GSI Events Index, the IAAF World Championships London 2017 claimed the title after scoring a GSI Event Rating of 2,828, marginally ahead of FISU’s Summer Universiade (2,788) and the 2017 FINA World Championships (2,657). The GSI Event Ratings are calculated annually and are used to produce the GSI Nations and Cities Index.

Click here to see the full GSI Events Index 2017 

The IAAF World Championships London 2017 was ranked as the leading sporting event of 2017 out of 80 events in Sportcal’s GSI Events Index, which analyses major global sporting events across a series of data indicators.

Accepting the award at SportAccord, IAAF President Sebastian Coe remarked: "This is terrific and I want to thank Sportcal for this award as 2017 had some particularly great sports events. I am really collecting this award on behalf of two exceptional organisations: the IAAF World Championship 2017 Organising Committee and my team at the IAAF. Great events need strong partnerships and we had a great partner in our London Organising Committee, the Mayor of London and the enthusiastic athletics’ fans in the UK. This created a fantastic platform for the athletes and our global flagship event." 


More than 705,000 tickets were sold for the 14 sessions of athletics at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, the site of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. More than 1,800 athletes from 197 nations competed across the 10 days of competition.

According to the IAAF, the event is estimated to have generated a direct economic impact worth £88.8 million ($116 million) and a potential total economic impact of £177.6 million ($232 million) for London.

The event received 6,526 hours of dedicated television coverage in 93 markets, according to research published by London & Partners, the official promotional company for London.


The FISU Summer Universiade finished just 40 points short of the top spot in the GSI Events Index. The multisport games for student athletes, which utilised 37 venues in Taipei City, achieved ticket sales of more than 700,000.

Over 7,300 athletes from more than 130 nations participated in the games, which were also supported by over 19,000 volunteers. 

The 2017 FINA World Championships ranked third in Sportcal’s GSI Events Index, with a GSI Event Rating of 2,657. The 17-day event hosted 485,000 spectators and welcomed over 2,000 athletes competing across 75 disciplines. 

Sportcal’s GSI Event Studies Programme 2017-2020 conducted analysis on two of the top five and six of the top 20 events during 2017. The data and insight obtained from these studies contributed significantly to the understanding of the holistic benefits each of these events can deliver for host destinations.

Of the events studied in depth, FISU’s Summer Universiade placed second, with the World Baseball Classic in fifth, while The World Games, FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, Winter Universiade and Liebherr World Individual Table Tennis Championships, were in ninth, 11th, 12th and 19th places, respectively.

Sportcal’s unique GSI Events Index is calculated using data attributed to the GSI Project’s four main modules for measuring impact: 1) Economic & Tourism; 2) Media & Sponsorship; 3) Social & Sustainability; 4) Sporting.

The GSI Events Index is published in full exclusively within the GSI Report 2018 (Events & Bidding).

Now in its fourth year, the GSI Report is being delivered in several smaller volumes in 2018, providing a greater focus on each of the specific impacts generated by sports events worldwide.

The Event Hosting & Bidding volume focuses on the hosts of events held in 2017 as well as the bidding landscape during the same year. A total of 80 events that took place throughout 2017 are analysed within the report. Each of the 80 world championships and multisport games are analysed using a standardised approach allowing for comparison of the relative impacts created by each of the events.



You can pre-order your copy of the GSI Report 2018 (Events & Bidding) at a special early-bird rate of £750 / CHF 1,000 / US$1,000. Contact clientservices@sportcal.com to find out more.