There is a lot being said in the mainstream media about Dan Andrews pulling the plug on the Melbourne Comm Games that cover a number of aspects
- The budget – actual and estimated
- The monetary cost of cancelling
- The reputational cost of cancelling
- The loss of promised new facilities in regional areas
- The disappointment of the athletes
- Lots of political point scoring (maybe that could be included as a new sport)
And then there is the impact on the event industry.
But first – the cost
Whether the budget estimates stack up is something we will probably never know because I cannot see Premier Andrews releasing the figures to back up his claim of the blowout (commercial in confidence and all that).
The cost of the 2006 Melbourne Games is generally agreed to be around $1.1B. Allowing for inflation that would be around $1.8B in 2026.
The actual costs for hosting the games was AUD 1.144 billion and prior to the Games, accountants at KPMG were estimating that the gross income generated by this event could be as high as AUD 1.5 billion. Wikipedia
The final figures for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games show the event cost more than $1 billion. ABC
Despite the Government’s massive commitment, it still needs another $400 million from other sources to meet a total Games budget of $1.1 billion. The Age
This official report Triple Bottom Line Assessment of the XVIII Commonwealth Games doesn’t go into the costs – just the benefits.
So what about the event industry?
I put that question to Melbourne based event producer, Peter Jones
Political and reputational issues left aside for the sake of one key question: what does it mean for the Victoria Event Industry in particular?
The simple answer is a major blow as events of this size don’t come along on a regular basis, and it has impacted many organisations and individuals across different sectors within the industry.
Tenders were already planned for anything and everything including:
Generators, marquees, furniture, toilets, signage, key staff, risk, scaffold, caterers – let alone technical and operational services that were still to come.
I know one person who has moved from Queensland to Geelong to take up an events related role, literally in the last six weeks. I only hope she gets well looked after; but a lot of businesses were going to use this event to plan and develop their product and services over the next few years in the lead up to the Games.
Lots of grants this week for Tourism related services in the regions which is great, but nothing to see for any event related business that have lost this great opportunity.
What’s done is done; and we all have to move on.
But surely now is the time for our industry associations to step up. Maybe it is time for ABEA and MEA to work together to approach the Victorian government to gain support for the event industry – ABEA representing the interests of business events and MEA on behalf of the much broader event industry.
The Victorian government has announced $150 million would be poured into a Regional Tourism and Events Fund but how that is being spent and who can apply is currently unclear.
While bigger towns, such as Ballarat (athletics) and Bendigo (track cycling), were set to host multiple larger events, smaller towns were delighted to have been selected for their own competitions.
This funding has been welcomed by the VITC
The $150 million tourism package also announced by Premier Daniel Andrews today is welcome investment in the industry, however the Victoria Tourism Industry Council cautions that the money must be directed to key initiatives that will drive the greatest return and legacy potential for the industry.
I recommend a few other articles
First up this analysis from the ABC’s Richard Willingham
The decision to cancel the Commonwealth Games was always going to be difficult and controversial.
The sporting event was a key selling point for the Labor government in the regions seeking a third term.
And sport being sport it was seen as untouchable, the idea of it being cancelled seemed impossible.
But earlier this year, those working on the project realised it was massively undercooked. The budget had failed to cost security and transport, and having multiple athletes villages was also underquoted.
And from the SMH’s Economics Editor, Ross Gittins
These days it’s not unusual for cities to realise they prefer not to host major sporting events such as the Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games. What is unusual is that it’s taken so long for Premier Daniel Andrews to pull the plug.
The later the decision, the greater the disappointment and the ire of organisers, athletes and sport fans. And, no doubt, the greater the wasted spending.
And after a mad scramble to find a host for the 2026 Commonwealth Games, because no city really wanted them, Victoria had agreed to host on a multi-location regional basis. It promised to be an exciting proposition: a smaller, more nimble Games, taking elite sport to regional hubs, rather than building more white elephant stadiums on the outskirts of big cities.
In the meantime
The 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand will be the most-attended edition of the tournament yet, with more than 1.5m tickets sold just days into the month-long event.
The previously best-attended Women’s World Cup, in Canada in 2015, saw 1.35m spectators through the gates across the tournament. Already more than 1.1m tickets have been sold to matches in Australia alone.