Tag: events

Economic Impact
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Economic Impact

Sporting events are as Australian as Vegemite, the Hills Hoist, the Victa mower, kangaroos and Holden cars.  We run them as well as anyone else, paramount among these of course, was the Sydney 2000 Olympics which the late IOC supremo Juan Antonio Samaranch declared to be the ‘best ever’.  But could it be that as a nation we are inexorably falling out of love with them?  The many proponents of events optimistically use economic impact as a battering ram into the minds of the public.  Alas, all too often their inflated, rose-tinted estimates amount to empty promise and mouthed platitude.  Once a given event is wrapped up, the sums are done and the impact is found to be far from what the estimates would have us believe. An Access Economics investigation indicates the true benefit of the FIFA World Cup coming to our shores would have been in the region of  $1.79 billion mainly through visitor spending.  The true cost, largely through the construction of stadia would have been a whopping $3.69 billion!  The FFA maintained that the event would have given Australia a $5 billion plus boon to our gross domestic product!  Perhaps we dodged a well-struck, vicious volley with our ignominious single vote then? In Melbourne, the F1 Grand Prix, stolen as it was from Adelaide has always attracted controversy but this invariably came from marginal, minority groups. Even dyed in the wool motor racing fans are now questioning the legitimacy of an event that costs the Victorian taxpayer around $70 million a year. Even on the Far North Coast Lismore City Council found itself in a financial mire when it hosted the ill fated Festival of Cricket which lost an eye watering $150 000 plus!  Events garner significant benefits other than the much vaunted, poorly understood economic impact.  These range from the physical to the cultural, and from social benefits to the environmental. At the highest echelons events showcase Australia as a place to do business, as a powerful player on the world stage.  But in a democracy difficult questions must be asked and answers given.  If this means an end to the use of economic impact as the sole justification for spending taxpayer dollars, events will be far the better for it!

This post first appeared as Monday’s Expert in the Northern Star in February, 2011.

 

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Event Impact

News that Rally Australia has slunk off south to Coffs Harbour should really come as no surprise. The marketplace for events of almost any ilk is hugely competitive globally, nationally, regionally and locally. Just as whole countries lay themselves bare and bid for major events so do major cities and this of course trickles down to our backyard.  Let’s face it, the term ‘bidding’ wasn’t really in the lexicon of sport administrators, especially regionally a decade ago but all that has changed as events have become economic commodities.  Few would argue that they have benefit but the economic ones are usually overstated (this emerges post event of course) and little attention is paid to the other benefits that can accrue. And let’s not mention the downside at the moment!  The winners from the bidding merry go round are what are termed the ‘property rights holders’ – those who own or at least control the events, the teams or the concepts. Economics predict that these rights holders will naturally gravitate to the highest bidder or at least the bid that has the most advantages. So as more and more countries, regions and yes, local government’s become event ready, competition becomes increasingly cut throat. When this happens and with the addition of other aspects such as community reaction or incentive, events move around.  Splendour goes north, Wintersun south and yes the rally leaves the Northern Rivers for a yet to be determined route. The really savvy councils are those that have a distinct and definitive strategy. The brave ones are those that can say no when events are dangled but they don’t fit the profile or the gut feeling. I know of at least one LGA in NSW whose sole intention with events is to outbid a neighbouring council! Surely a recipe for the waste of precious taxpayer funds? A solution? Get all our local councils together and formulate a regionally founded strategy that builds on the relative merits of each LGA.  Forget competition, with cooperation we can build a rational and sustainable point of difference in the events industry for the entire region.

This post first appeared as Monday’s Expert in the Northern Star Monday September 27th.

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Heard the buzzzzzz?

Don’t tell anyone but I love Australia more than most of you would imagine.  For the opportunities it has afforded me and for the life I continue to revel in. But most of all I love Australia for the nation’s abiding adoration for all things even tenuously linked to sport.  And I’ll be darned if I can remember a better illustration of how sport transcends everything than this past week… As you may be aware climate and conditions have combined and conspired to produce the best hatching potential of locusts since Bradman was a babe. A perfect storm of truly biblical proportions is predicted. There will literally be billions of the buggers around, a veritable plague that will devour anything green from Yarrawonga to Yackandandah and everywhere in between. Endless news items of impending doom have been greeted with stoic and typical Ockerness.  Out West such events are taken in your stride, a fact of life, an obstacle to be overcome. On the coast we seem to have a curious disconnect, as if it were happening in a far-flung foreign land. Well, that is until a clear and present danger to our sport is mentioned! A casual observation that the encroaching hoards may threaten iconic sporting events and sane men and women run around predicting the end of the world and issuing press releases! Yep it seems that if by dint of weather or intent, the locusts find Flemington that first Tuesday in November then there is a real threat that the Cup itself may be postponed. Don’t they realise this its’ 150th running!?  It’s not because the ladies who lunch will find all manner of fascinating etymological specimens in their fascinators but more a serious concern for the safety of jockeys piloting 600kg of horseflesh! Should the march continue then it might even affect the Ashes Boxing Day Test! Mobilise the armed forces, call for reinforcements this is an emergency!  Forget the physical, emotional and financial suffering a swarm the size of Spain could inflict, whatever happens the sport MUST go on! We’re a strange bunch!

This post first appeared as Monday’s Expert in the Northern Star on September 20th

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