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Impacts of the 2018 Commonwealth Games to the Gold Coast City

Discuss about the Sports Management Advantages and Costs that Accrue to the City of Gold Coast.

In the recent times, Commonwealth Games have grown into major international sporting events that attract large crowds of people from all over the world. The increasing interest in these games and the growing amount of capital invested in hosting these mega-events have seen many cities bidding to host the games as an opportunity of improving its economic and social aspects. Gold Coast is one of such cities that will be hosting the event come 2018. However, with so much attention trailed on the potential benefits that come from hosting such international sporting events, little attention has been given to the costs that accompany it. Thus, the present paper discusses the advantages and costs that accrue to the city of Gold Coast. The paper examines the economic, social and environment impact in the lead up to the events, during the event itself as well as five years after the event.

Economic Impacts

(Jago & Dwyer, 2013) in their view, considers economic impacts as the net sum of the all the economic consequences of the money that is attracted to the host city as a result of the event as it flows through the host’s economy.  Before a sports event occurs, the host country often spends a lot of funds in constructing stadia, and it is accompanied facilities which can accommodate a large number of visitors. (Malfas, Houlihan, & Theodoraki, 2004) argues that hosting the sports event can result in the generation of “psychic income” resulting from the psychological and emotional benefits which the Cold Coast residents will receive as being associated with the events. These psychic incomes may include prestige, power and fame and the greater the anticipated psychic income, the higher a consumer of the event will be willing to pay to attend the sports thus generating more revenue for the city (Wicker & Sotiriadou, 2013).  Based on the study conducted by (Prayag, Hosany, Nunkoo, & Alders, 2013) on the 2012 Olympic Games, hosting a mega sports event such as Commonwealth games have both positive and negative economic impacts on the host country.  Some of the positive economic impacts of the event according to the author include creating business and employment opportunities for the residents,  increased tax revenues, improvements in the infrastructures especially the transportation network and stadia. Others are increasing in investment rates and associated accelerated growth for the local community and increased local expenditure in the host economy (Prayag, Hosany, Nunkoo, & Alders, 2013).

Social Impacts

(Fredline & Faulkner, 2000) supports the notion by indicating that hosting such mega event can improve the status of the destination’s tourism industry which results from the increase in the number of tourists, their length of stay during and after the event and their level of expenditure. Enhanced tourism industry can generate more revenues to the host country through foreign exchange. The study conducted by (Lee & Taylor, 2005), revealed similar results on economic benefits of hosting a sporting event based on the findings on the 2002 FIFA World Cup. On the other hand, it is also noted that hosting a mega event can result in numerous negative economic impacts to Gold Coast city which may discourage the host city from hosting future events. Some of the noted adverse economic impacts include increased tax burden for the local community, price inflation due to the rising demand and it can also lead to the mismanagement of public funds (Jago & Dwyer, 2013).

Hosting such a mega event such as Commonwealth games demands the construction of public facilities for the visitors and exorbitant operating costs in the form of wages and security equipment. These expenses are often regarded as misuse of taxpayers’ money as the event only last for a short period with not certain long-term impacts  (Downward & Ralston, 2006); (Lee & Taylor, 2005).  A good example of exorbitant expenditure was noted in the 2008 Beijing Olympics which had an estimated cost of over $40 billion causing a huge effect on the country’s Gross National Product (GNP).  Conversely, mega events can further results in the crowding out of most regular business travelers on many occasions will tend to avoid the hosting city during the event and this leads to loss of revenues. 

In the long-term such as five years following the, it is noted by (Ritchie & Smith, 1991) that hosting a mega event can result in the creation of global awareness of the host city thereby increasing its image in the international markets and this is vital for its tourism sector. Enhancing a region's brand in the global market can, in the long run, provide a stronger competitive position for the country and this intern enhances the city’s tourism receipts.

Social impacts of an event are associated with how the sporting event changes the standard way of life or the quality of the life of the residents of Gold Coast city.  There are three primary categories of the social impacts of an event which include the effects on the host city’s individuals and communities,  the tourists and that which exist on tourist-host interrelationships   (Lecture3, 2017).  As observed by (Prayag, Hosany, Nunkoo, & Alders, 2013), hosting mega sporting events such as the Olympics and the Commonwealth games can result in both positive and negative impacts before, during and after the event. Hosting a sporting event will help bring the community of the Gold Coast city together giving the residents the chance of meeting and interacting with new individuals.  The event will further enhance the residents’ pride in the global arena, promote Gold Coast city as a desired tourist destination and makes the people understand and appreciate the different culture. Additionally, it will strengthen the cultural values and traditions of the residents and lastly, the event can help build the national identity  (Ritchie & Smith, 1991) ; (Malfas, Houlihan, & Theodoraki, 2004).

Social impacts of sporting events are mostly experienced during and after the event, and some of the positive social effects of the events as noted by (Ohmann, Jones, & Wilkes, 2006) include shared experience among the locals and visitors, revitalization of traditions and expansion of the city’s cultural perspectives. (Ohmann, Jones, & Wilkes, 2006) further indicates such events increases community participation and togetherness, introduces new and challenging ideas vital for social growth and it can also lead to the enhancement of community pride and identity (Ohmann, Jones, & Wilkes, 2006).  Borrowing from the findings from the Sydney Olympics as noted by (Waitt, 2003), hosting the Commonwealth games will create a feeling of excitement and pride among many residents of the Gold Coast city during the period of the event.

Through collective sharing, hosting of the Commonwealth will in the long-term enhance the quality of life of the residents through the act of urban regeneration (Fredline & Faulkner, 2000). As observed by (Toohey, 2008), the concept of urban regeneration encompasses physical dimension that is in the form of architecture and the creation of the image and social perspective which enhances the quality of life of the residents of Gold Coast city. This rejuvenation of the city is therefore regarded as a long term effect of hosting a sporting event which often occurs after five years upon hosting the event. It leads to improved traffic conditions, reduced air pollution as a form of socio-environmental benefit and it also transforms the city and its peripheries hence improving the quality life of the residents (Waitt, 2003).   Further, hosting the Commonwealth games can have positive tourism impacts on the community such as strengthening the community’s cultural values and building of the country’s identity (Prayag, Hosany, Nunkoo, & Alders, 2013).

Some of the noted negative social impacts that may accrue to Gold Coast City as a result of hosting the Commonwealth games may include substance abuse, social dislocation and high levels of prostitution. Hosting the games can also result in community alienation, loss of amenity resulting from noise and overcrowding, traffic congestion and the loss of social and leisure habits (Toohey, 2008). Other adverse effects that the city my experience in the short term include the disruption of community life, theft, community manipulation and increased crime rates due to the high number of individuals in the city. 

The mainly cited positive impact on the environment owing to mega events is related to the establishment of new infrastructure which includes stadia, better transport systems, enlarged airport capacities and considerable upgrades in the water and sewage systems. Arguably, upgrades of most of these facilities might not have been feasible either politically or financially without the anticipation of the events. (Fredline & Faulkner, 2000), argue that mega events often provide a strong rationale for accelerating urban regeneration developments as well as the reallocation of scarce resources that otherwise might have taken many years of planning. (David, 2009) observes that the preparation for the events also leads to the regeneration of run-down parts of the country which accelerates the realization of intergenerational equity where resources are distributed equitably to various parts of the hosting city to ensure optimal standard and capacity of international participation (Lecture5, 2017). 

Indisputably, prior to the mega sports events, considerable adjustments are made on the environment with the high hopes of enhancing the aesthetic view, especially for the many incoming guests. (David, 2009) observes that serious concerns are often placed strategically on improving the outlook for the ecologically systems in the drive to facilitate easy mobility and access to various facilities for the use of the events in particular by the residents of Gold Coast (Lecture4, 2017). During the sports events, the growing consumer sentiment especially in regard to the mega events and on their livelihood would improve the overall quality of life of the Gold Coast residents. Most people will become considerably aware of their environment and its place at the centre of sustainability of sport and other major events. Five years down the line, the environmental impact would still be felt especially in those areas where considerable efforts were placed in restoring the country’s natural heritage.

However, (Faulkner, 2003) attest to the reality that while the preparation for the mega sports events may fast-track infrastructural developments, these rapid developments presents a significant ecological threat to the sustainability of the environment in almost all fronts. Extant literature raises concerns about the lack of correlation that exist between pre-event infrastructural investments in optimistic projections which include anticipated benefits and eventual post-event outcomes which are complex and not easily assessed quantitatively especially owing to their occurrence over extended periods (Faulkner, 2003).

During the periods of mega sports events, people are often overtaken by the happening in their immediate surrounding to their extent that they overlook the environmental cost of hosting the event. An examination of mega-events literature shows that in most developing nation, tourism development is dependent on the appeal of the available natural resources, serene and beautiful landscapes which are always associated with the sensitive ecosystem (David, 2009).  Emerging pieces of literature suggest that crowding of people at various sporting places have the potential of impacting negatively on the local ecosystems by hastening pollution and waste to some specific biological and culturally diverse places. The mega-events lead to exploitation of reserves of some irreplaceable natural capital as well as destructing the natural heritage in the areas. (Lockstone & Baum, 2008) observes that a lot of energy and water is often consumed during these events and the results are huge carbon footprints on the environment which is felt even after many years following the events.

 Five years after the event, Gold Coast will experience the impact of the generated greenhouse gasses which were mainly emitted primarily by transport activities during the mega-sport event. Some scholars have argued that the carbon footprints have led to shifting climate change which has drastic impact on other sectors such as agriculture as well as the natural coexistence of various inhabitants of the ecosystem. Further, (Fredline & Faulkner, 2000) observes that hosting mega-events also have long term effect on flora and fauna especially in protected areas. The author notes that although events attendees may pose minimal threat to flora and fauna more so directly, the crowding of people may interfere with the order of the natural habitat which may have an adverse effect on the breeding and feeding patterns of the animals. Consequently, the population of animals and vegetation may shrink even after many years following the major events such as sports (Collins, Jones, & Munday, 2009).  Besides, extreme ecological disturbance may also enhance migration of some animals and this lead to decline economic advantage of the country in terms of decreased tourism activities.

Over the years, the real value of what (Downward & Ralston, 2006) would regard as “worth” of planned mega events have always been obscured by the unanimous over-emphasis on one aspect of it all, namely event tourism or so to say economic benefits. The social and cultural values of events have until recently been ignored to the extent that it is troubling to identify let alone measure them. Again, the environmental impact of event tourism has always been given inadequate attention in a manner that pollution and waste associated with these events have not been included in the economic assessment. Thus, many scholars among whom (Lecture5, 2017); (Lecture9, 2017) have conceived the inadequacies that are inherent in having one vantage point of assessing the value of mega-events, and this led to the introduction of a multi-thronged approach to evaluating the sustainability of the events.

The new paradigm, the "triple-bottom-line" approach goes beyond the traditional parameters of measurements of economic benefits, namely return on investment, shareholder value to include social and environmental aspects of the games. Essentially, the new approach provides a comprehensive assessment of the mega-events along integrated facets of economic gains, the people and the planet in the drive to achieve sustainability goals. In applying TBL to mega-events management, (Fairley, Tyler, Kellett, & D’Elia, 2011) provides a combination of TBL approach and Stakeholder Theory so that the outcomes can be enhanced to the interest of all stakeholders. The  management of stakeholders demands simultaneous attention to the legitimate interest of all parties involved when an event is hosted in a country. In event tourism, TBL approach ensures that every organization is held responsible or accountable for their economic, environmental and social contribution and the outcomes of the assessments must be communicated effectively to the relevant stakeholders.

Mega-sport events often play significant roles in host destinations in terms of improving the economy, enhancing and enriching people’s culture as well as societal values (Downward & Ralston, 2006). As spatial and temporal phenomena, sports provide unique moments of the interaction of different people in diverse settings and within different  management systems. The obvious outcome of these interactions is always the economic value that the country gets during and even after the main event. An examination of the social, economic and environment impacts, reveal considerable effects on the triple bottom line of events.

Socially, hosting events creates psychic benefits that are intangible but useful to the recipients as they help improve their feelings towards things, increase their civic pride as well as promote existence values. According to (Faulkner, 2003) since sports fans and tourist are major stakeholders who have powerful and legitimate claim on the mega-event, their interest is at the core of the social impact of the events. Thus, the very success and excellence of the events depend entirely on the attitude and satisfaction that these groups of individuals gain from the hosted games. The Gold Coast residents will have the opportunity to enjoy bequest value sometimes after the events, and this leads to increased cultural integration and participation.

By hosting the events in 2018, the country will be placing its local businesses and economic infrastructures at a strategic position for an economic boost and tremendous expansion. (Lockstone & Baum, 2008) observe that Gold Coast residents stand a chance of benefiting directly from hosting the Commonwealth Games. It is a position that has received support from (Waitt, 2003) who cited the Sydney example the economic benefits that the country enjoyed after the events.

Additionally, considering the environmental impacts, hosting mega-sport events create considerable awareness to the environment. Many projects will be initiated to enhance proper utilization of the environment while at the same time increase accessibility and capacity of the facilities. In other words, the very anticipation of hosting the Commonwealth Games would initiate establishment and regeneration of projects especially in areas that would otherwise remain undeveloped (Lecture6, 2017). However, the degeneration and degradation of the environment and destruction of natural heritage would open a new page where necessary policies geared towards sustainable would be established to ensure conservation of the environment.


Hosting Commonwealth Games provides considerable benefits and of course associated costs in the country especially in terms of its economy, social aspects as well as environmental dimensions. A critical review of emerging literature shows that despite the many preparations and large financial inputs, the outcomes of the games are often felt on the two sides of the divide in almost equal measure. Some of the impacts either positive or negative may be considered over a short period or even extended periods of time after the games. Major international games invigorate the establishment of modern infrastructures that are meant to improve communication, transportation, and access to various facilities as well as improvement of social amenities.  On the other hand, mega-sport events have a drastic negative impact on the social degradation of a community, economic stability as well as massive degradation of the environment. Thus, is almost every measure, these impacts have a consequential outcome on the sustainability of such games in a country.


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