The world loves international sporting events, and for good reason. They offer a unique way to bring the global community together and provide shared, meaningful experiences through a common passion – and the buzz and excitement in a host city during an international sporting event is palpable.
However, due to the expense of hosting major events, international bodies are struggling to secure host cities because of the economic investment required. While the funding contribution is often repaid with an economic boom, it isn't always a given. As Official Lawyers to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, we saw some important changes to the way international events were staged.
Lessons from the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games:
Take a regional approach
The 2018 Games were the first time the Commonwealth Games had been held in a regional city. The Games used existing venues across Queensland, incorporating Brisbane, Cairns and Townsville venues as well as those in the Gold Coast. This prospect opens up the pool of cities that can put their hands up to host other international events – especially when the infrastructure burden can be shared across other cities.
Approach venues creatively
In the Gold Coast, we looked for creative ways to deliver venues – they didn't have to be traditional sporting venues. Other existing buildings or permanent infrastructure could be equally suitable. In the Gold Coast, we used movie studios and convention centres to host some events, but different creative opportunities will exist from city to city.
Develop infrastructure with longer term value in mind
All sporting venues were up and running prior to the Games, so we knew they'd continue to be useful to the community after the Games concluded. Some received a facelift – so the benefits were returned to the community before the Games even started. In addition, the athletes' village was strategically built to fulfil the future accommodation requirements of the nearby health and knowledge precinct – home to Griffith University and the Gold Coast University Hospital.
Consider social, non-financial impacts
Sport has the power to impact cultural and social agendas to change the environment for the better. A key part of the Gold Coast legacy was its social impact: it was the first Games that had equal medal opportunities for men and women; it had the largest para-sport program in Commonwealth Games history; and it demonstrated a committed effort to reconciliation with the GC2018 Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), being the first of its kind for a major Australian sporting event and a Commonwealth Games. This kind of impact reverberates across host cities long after the sporting event has finished.
As the Official Lawyers and an Official Supporter of the Invictus Games Sydney 2018, we're applying many of these lessons. Sport has the ability to bridge socioeconomic divides, geographical boundaries and language. Host cities get the opportunity to showcase not only the city, but the country and its people. If we take the lessons learned and apply them to events – small and large – we can help maintain the sustainability of sporting events in providing a blueprint to other host cities around the world.