Although major events can have 'spillover' effects on surrounding areas, their benefits are normally spatially concentrated. This automatically privileges certain neighbourhoods. Such outcomes may be difficult to justify politically, as resources to stage events are usually obtained from different public and private agencies that may be reluctant to favour a confined geographical area. This paper analyses opportunities for more diffuse spatial dissemination. Recognition of 'intangible' benefits means that event initiatives can be pursued even where there is no permanent physical legacy from an event, or where that legacy is concentrated elsewhere. In this paper, existing literature is reviewed and framed within a conceptual structure that highlights the three main ways peripheral areas can benefit from events for which they are not the principal host. These are: through 'incidental' effects, via the 'partial dislocation' of an event and by deploying various forms of 'leverage'. The paper then discusses three UK cases to illustrate this framework: the 2012 Olympic Games, the 2007 Tour de France and the 2002 Commonwealth Games. The paper concludes that the potential for considerable benefits for both core hosts and peripheral areas means stakeholders at both scales should be encouraged to make policy interventions to disperse event effects.