Legacy Governance – Innsbruck

innsbruck-tirol sports GmbH 

  • Olympic City: Innsbruck
  • Country: Austria
  • Edition of the Games: 1964, 1976 Olympic Winter Games, 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games
Since 2012
Innsbruck and Tirol
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How Legacy Governance Started In Innsbruck

Innsbruck is the capital of the Tyrol, one of the best-known tourism regions and most popular holiday destinations in the Alps. Since the Olympic Winter Games in 1964 and 1976, the region has been famous for its great competence in organising major (sport) events. Innsbruck attracts millions of visitors every year. In the last few years, many European and World Championships, multiple multi-sport events, and various world cup events have been carried out. After hosting the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012, Innsbruck became the first Olympic City that hosted the Olympic Games three times.

Due to its unique hospitality and excellent infrastructure, Innsbruck and Tyrol have the perfect preconditions for being a world-class host city and region.

innsbruck-tirol sports GmbH (ITS) is a not for profit company, formed from the legacy of the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games 2012 in Innsbruck, Tyrol. The idea behind the company is the conservation and the further development of knowledge which was accumulated during the organisation and realisation of the Youth Olympic Games and all other major sport events organised since. ITS actively promotes the Olympic values and the well-being of every individual. ITS is constantly maintaining and extending the existing sports network and services for not only regional but (inter)national federations and partners.

Since the successful staging of the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012, ITS has introduced many initiatives in the areas of trending sports,  school sports, winter sports and biking. The organisation is working closely together with the governing body of the regional schools of Tyrol, clubs and associations and are pleased with the continuous and sustainable further development in this area. In January 2016, ITS organised the International Children’s Winter Games, the only major sport event for pupils and young people between 12 and 15 years of age recognised by the IOC. It was also the first multi-winter sport event conducted entirely as a “green event”. In 2018 the ITS organized the UCI Road World Championships and the largest mountain-bike festival in Europe: Crankworx. Just recently, the company also added the world record multi-winter sport event – with the most participants ever – at the Winter World Masters Games 2020 to their portfolio. All this hand in hand planning towards a stringent strategy has helped to keep costs low and reuse some of the concepts but especially continue to adapt and learn from one event to the other. Nearly all of the aforementioned events have had the most efficient operating budgets in the past decade and one of the best examples for saving costs is best displayed with the ongoing active voluneerteam.tirol!


The company’s motto is: “We want to acquire, develop and organise (major) sport events, learn and share through transfer of knowledge programmes and help create benefits for the local population / communities through sustainable approaches, sports programmes and most efficient (public) spendings”.

Legacy is…

Building upon major events, such as the Youth Olympic Games or the UCI Road World Championships to maintain high-level facilities and develop local skills for the region to enhance its capacity in organising other major events (International Children’s Games in 2016, Winter World Masters Games in 2020).

ITS has also stressed the importance of a green legacy and has received numerous  green certificates – Green Event Tirol and Green Event Austria – for most of their sports events such as the International Children’s Games, the Tyrolean School Winter Games, Freestyle am Landhausplatzand the UCI Road World Championships.

What’s next?

In the long term, ITS aims at continuous development of its own events in the area of sport for young talents and acquiring and implementing new major (sports) events in Innsbruck and the Tyrol.

Next steps are the following:

  • Organise Crankworx until 2022.
  • Set up multi-year plan in the making for further bike developments.
  • Concentrate on Alpine sports competence strategy in the making until end of 2020.
  • Secure further private and public financing.


Promote a healthy and active lifestyle

Innsbruck is an ideal location for both winter sports and summer activities. The place itself is a capital to be preserved and like no other city in the world combines an urban with an alpine flair. The breath-taking nature and landscapes of the Tyrol offer various possibilities for sports and leisure activities. The City offers a four-season programme of activities for all generations. In addition, ITS stresses the importance of a sustainable approach in all approaches and events that ITS promotes. Many types of sport are dependent on the quality of natural landscapes. The delicate ecosystem and precious landscapes have to be protected and preserved for future generations. This is the only way to maintain the opportunity of sports and leisure activities as well as recreation in nature, and to protect the environment.

After successfully initiating some best practice models during the YOG (reusable tableware, cup rental, furniture of the Olympic Village, etc.), ITS has been continuously working together with other institutions on projects to enable environmentally-friendly and resource-conserving major (sport) events. Together with the Green Event Tirol Initiative, ITS is promoting new projects which meet the “Green Event” criteria.

Events such as Innsbruck 2016 International Children’s Games and the yearly happening Freestyle Days at the Landhausplatz have been awarded as “Green Event Tirol”. The 2018 UCI Road World Champions also received the Green Event Austria Award.

Develop human capital and generate social cohesion

Volunteers’ engagement make events possible. The efforts of our volunteerteam.tirol amounts to more than 250.000h in the last 8 years. Involving all ranges of the population is at the heart of every ITS work. ITS developed the 1st Online Volunteer Platform in Austria and is a pioneer in this area. ITS looks forward to supporting and servicing different major (sport) events in the coming years together with many motivated volunteers. The community building which has happened here is an example for other areas such as youth sports.

Being a volunteer dos not only mean giving but also receiving something in return. It allows to meet many other people from different countries and cultures, to be an important connection between all the players and to ensure a successful event.  The fields of activity for volunteers are diverse and exciting. In addition to supporting the execution of sport competitions, the volunteers take care of the participants and guests, ensure the smooth operation of transport, catering, ceremonies and side events, as well as representing the event to the general public. Volunteers have the chance to use their skills and experiences as well as build new ones. Through the strong ties with universities and schools, ITS has also managed to set up a career ladder from recruiting young professionals and even Volunteers up until Team Leaders, Project Managers or Head of Functions.


Figures speak for themselves.

  • Per capita overnight stays make the Tyrol region one of the most touristic regions in the world. A third of all tourism nights of Austria. With approx..55% in the Winter season;
  • All Sport Events held have been followed closely with survey and economic impact studies. Over € 80 mio have been contributing to the local economy; half of it happened with the UCI Road World Championships
Source: ITS

Key Challenges

Political challenges

  • New city government and budgeting cycle.
  • Events still a major role but pause needed with respect to public spending on “traditional” major international sports events, as a huge amount happened in the last 5 years.
  • Now with new Mayor, new focus and budget consolidation phase. Uncertainty on how the standpoint towards international (major) events is coming and how regional and city governments are willing to invest in further international major events.
  • New Holding for the region has been founded; likelihood to combine functions and further companies. Uncertainty on strategy timeline.

Ensure balance between major events and long-term challenges

  • TV-output and catalyst for developments (tourism, infrastructure etc.).
  • Organising and developing more events of our own and a stronger focus on regional developments and Events.
  • More Green events (Freestyle days and ICG 2016 certified Green events Tyrol; Green Event Austria Award for 2018 UCI Road World Champions).
  • Promoting the Olympic values and the well-being of every individual.

Key learnings and recommendations

Ensure a sound network of public and private partners

Working with involved partners is essential, both from events and long-term projects.

Therefore, maintaining and extending the existing (sports) network is key for further developments. However there also needs to be a stronger shift towards private funding of elite sport events in conjunction with international federations etc.

Also the need for more flexibility in setting up new strategies towards ever changing political developments has become apparent. A combined approach from all sport clubs/federations and partners of the sporting industry is needed to manifest the need and relevance of Sport. A stronger focus on local, youth and physical activity promotion is one of the future priorities.



More information


The full case is available in printable version on the members’ portal

In addition to the above description, the PDF version also gathers practical information including internal and external partners involved; finance and cost; use of the olympic brand; human resources and time; and contact details. 

The World Union of Olympic Cities’ team remains at your disposal for any further information and contact’s facilitation at info@olympiccities.org 

Additional resources can be found through the following links: