Study reveals spectacular socio-economic impact of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow and across Scotland

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is today pleased to publish a report by professional services firm EY which highlights the extremely positive economic impact of the inaugural UCI Cycling World Championships - held from 3 to 13 August 2023 - for hosts Glasgow, Scotland and the United Kingdom.

The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, the biggest cycling event ever organised, brought together 13 UCI World Championships from different disciplines in the same region over 11 days. More than 7,100 athletes from 131 nations took part, hoping to win one or more of the 220 titles of UCI World Champion at stake. This combined event will be held every four years, the year before the Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games. The next UCI Cycling World Championships will be held in Haute-Savoie, France, in 2027.

The 2023 edition was widely watched on television: broadcast on 93 channels in 130 countries, it totalled 14,000 hours of programming, 200 million hours viewed worldwide and attracted more than 80 million viewers in Europe alone.

According to the EY report, nearly a million spectators gathered at the different venues to watch the competitions. A third of them came from outside Scotland, including almost 90,000 from outside the United Kingdom.

The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships brought significant economic benefits, generating over £205 million of economic activity for Scotland, with the equivalent of 5,285 jobs created over a year.

The event was also notable for its contributions to a more sustainable society. These included promoting inclusion and accessibility, encouraging active travel, instilling a sense of civic pride among Scottish residents and facilitating sustainable investment in the communities involved. The following figures demonstrate the success of the event in the areas mentioned:

  • 97% of visitors rated the UCI World Championships as inclusive;

  • 40% of visitors were women;

  • 82% of visitors used active modes of transport;

  • 79% of Scottish residents said they intended to cycle more;

  • 95% of Scottish residents said they were proud to see their region host the event;

  • Over £6 million invested to date in all 32 local authorities;

  • 93% of stakeholders said they intended to continue the initiatives developed as part of the UCI World Championships.

Sustainability was also at the heart of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, through measures such as signing the United Nations Framework Agreement on Sport for Climate Action, measuring the event's carbon footprint, implementing a waste management plan, using renewable energy sources wherever possible, taking sustainability standards into account when choosing suppliers and implementing a number of environmental and biodiversity initiatives at local level.

According to the EY report:

  • 86% of the event's stakeholders consider that the UCI World Championships were organised in an environmentally-friendly manner;

  • 35% of participating National Federations intend to offset the carbon footprint of their travel to the UCI World Championships.

The organisers of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships will shortly publish a Sustainability Report presenting figures on the event's performance in this respect.

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.”

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.”

EY's UK Chief Economist Peter Arnold said: “The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships successfully delivered social benefits for local residents as well as driving significant economic impact. Further, the sustainability interventions put in place in delivering the Championships give early indication of positive environmental impact."

Read the report: 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships socio-economic impact evaluation - Executive Summary