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Politics in Events


Submitted By georgiaguerrera
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Last weeks lecture presented the idea of politics in events, which personally I had never paid much attention too, however, over the course of a 1 and a half hour lecture, I discovered it is one of the most important factors within events. When hearing politics in events, I was under the assumption that it was the way in which the government responded to events in a religious and culturally sensitive manner, and the effects they have on the image of our nation. I was pleasantly surprised to find out there was much more to it then these basic assumptions. In particular, I was intrigued by the ideology of Nation Building and Image Enhancement, being the use of an event to upgrade a countries international image, (Schlenker 2015), something that is high on the radar in Australia after hosting the 2000 Olympic games and the upcoming 2018 Commonwealth Games being hosted in the Gold Coast. This idea sparked interest, which led me to research further into the upcoming Commonwealth Games being held in the Gold Coast, where I came across multiple articles surrounding the concerns of budgeting and benefits of these games. From these pieces I was able to gain a personal opinion on politics in events and relate it back to the theory being taught.

Image Enhancement and/or Nation Building are one of the largest impacts and benefits from holding International and globally renowned events. In particular, sporting events. When I think back to the previous Olympic games, I think of London where they were held. These international events are means to promote a country and get them recognized and known on the map, which I think was successfully attained by the 2012 London Olympic Games. In regards to here and now, this can be seen in the upcoming Commonwealth Games being held in the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Australia. Senior Urbis Researcher consultant, Lynda Campbell states “It will put the Gold Coast on the world stage. All those great pictures of the beach and the high-rises will all be flashed around the world” (Barrett 2015, p. 3). Brisbane is hoping these games will get them as a city, boosted internationally and hopefully continue to attract “big events into the future” (Campbell, cited in Barrett 2015, p.3).

The economic value of an event is another factor to be highly regarded, as Mega events cease to exist without government funding. I was shocked to find out just how much money goes into producing major sporting events and how much of this is lost in return. Personally, I feel that if you are not getting any return on the event, then the purpose of the event is lost. However, critically looking into this issue there is the psychic benefit (Schlenker 2015) that was discussed during the lecture. The Psychic benefit entails the government overlooking the cost of the event for the benefit in brings, (Schlenker 2015) such as the Gold Coast becoming internationally known and the tourism it will bring to Australia. However for these Commonwealth games to go ahead, they require a sizeable stake from the Government. During my research I found that this was in fact causing some issues. The Brisbane Times discussed the new rail line being put in place and the money involved with building this rail line in time for the Games in 2018 (Moore 2015). It was evident the huge role the government funding plays in this event. Mayor Tom Tate stated “If we don’t get a commitment (from the state government) about starting work by March 2015, then it wont be ready for the Games in April, 2018” (Moore 2015, p. 2 of 3) which is an essential in transporting thousands of sports fans to and fro the major sporting event. On Sunday the 1st of March the Queensland Government refused to provide any more detail on the case (Moore 2015) which made me then consider if they were hesitant in providing this extreme amount of money, as the estimated total for all the infrastructure for the games is already at $13.5 billion (Moore 2015)

Another political issue facing events is ‘leveraging public investment in infrastructure’ (Schlenker 2015, p. 10 of 22) meaning using the most out of the facilities and not allowing it to become a white elephant situation in which masses of money is spent on these facilities and then they cease to be used again ( 2015, p. 2 of 3). I believe that this is going to be a massive issue for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, as they are investing massive amounts of money in the new sporting arenas when these all already exist in Sydney, a city which is highly more populated then Brisbane. I also came across rattling information that Brisbane is considering making a Bid for the 2028 Olympic games, and if successful they are looking to build yet again, brand new facilities to accommodate the games, while only reusing some of the arenas from the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast (Mair 2015). This I found quite concerning as I soon came across an article outlining the funding boost Sydney is receiving for the Events sector. NSW Premier Mike Baird is set to inflate the events budget to a staggering $643 million should the coalition be re-elected in March. They will be receiving a $123 million boost for the events budget, as part of their ambitious plan to put Sydney on the sporting map. (9News 2015). Mr Baird stated “The best city and state in the world deserved the best events, and that’s what were determined to deliver in the next four years”(9News 2015). They are projecting hopes for ‘NBA games, the Presidents Cup golf tournament, stealing away Melbourne’s Formula One Grand Prix’ (9News 2015, p.2 of 10) ‘Major League Baseball games and Gridiron with hopes of Jarrad Hayne securing a spot’ with the New York Giants (Silmalis 2015, p. 3 of 3) The government is hoping revenue will flow in as a result of setting Sydney up as a sporting Mecca, post the 2000 Olympics (9News 2015) ‘with visitor expenditure predicted to grow by more the $500 million’ (9News 2015, p. 3 of 6). This further fueled my curiosity with how the Gold Coast plans to secure events for there future sporting facilities, being both the Commonwealth games and potentially the Olympic Games, with Sydney making a ample investment to remain the Sporting Hub of Australia.

Due to this further research I was ale to gain a deeper understanding an additional knowledge on the political context of events. By being able to compare the 2000 Olympic games to the 2018 Commonwealth games to come, I was able to comprehend possible limitations for the event and the success or failures that may occur post games. I found it exceptionally interesting conjuring up my own personal opinion on the white elephant issue, which I believe is inevitable with the future Commonwealth Games, and I genuinely look forward to seeing this issue unfold post games and observing how the government responds to the matter. I now wholly understand the extent to which politics plays in events, and I am genuinely stunned by just how much this is, from looking back to my initial assumptions.

9News, 2015, Sydney set to score some points on the international scoreboard, viewed March 15th 2015, <>

Barrett, R. 2015, $13bn Commonwealth Games boost to revive Gold Coast Market, viewed March 15th 2015, <>, 2015, White Elephant, viewed 15th March 2015,

Mair, J. 2015, Brisbane Olympics case difficult to make, viewed March 15th 2015, <>

Moore, T. 2015, Commonwealth Games infrastructure might not be finished on time: Tom Tate, viewed 15th March 2015, <>

Schlenker, K. 2015, ‘The Political Context of Events’, UTS Online Subject 21639, lecture notes, UTS, Sydney, viewed 15th March 2015,

Silmalis, L. 2015, Baseball and gridiron could come to Sydney with proposed $123m funding boost, viewed 15th March 2015, <>

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