The next Commonwealth Games event is set for 2018 in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, and preparations are already underway. The 21st edition of the games will mark the largest and most elite multi-sporting competition ever to have been held in the Gold Coast, with the production expecting at least 40,000 on-site spectators with another estimated 1.5 billion in global broadcast audiences.
The Games are slated to be contested across 18 venues positions in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Cairns and Townsville, with the Queensland government having already committed more than an astounding $10 billion towards infrastructure, including Commonwealth Games-related projects among many others, according to its latest state budget report. A new Townsville Stadium and Entertainment Precinct costing around $315 million is included in this figure, as is the giant expenditure of $1.8 billion on Gold University Hospital development, meant to be a lasting legacy of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The financial reports produced regularly by 2018 Commonwealth Games organizers put the total cash expenditure for the Games at $2.027 billion. According to the ‘Ahead of the Games’ site, this giant figure ‘will be offset by estimated operating revenues of $272 million, contributions of $115 million from the City of Gold Coast and $156 million from the Federal Government, leaving a net cost to the Queensland Government of $1.484 billion.’
However, the rising costs of international, multi-sport competitions have come under fire on the global stage as of late, with countries pulling out of hosting duties due to current economic conditions. For some, the potential benefit of hosting a sizable event simply do not outweigh the costs.
Such was the case with Guadalajara, Mexico pulling out of hosting the 2017 FINA World Aquatics Championships, citing economic crisis. 2019’s edition of the same championships are also in financial jeopardy, as a fraud situation led to Gwangju’s city government’s absence of financial support.
On a more comparable scale, a study conducted after the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow found that, although the Games brought €1.1 billion ($1.2 billion) in national gross value to its Scottish hosts, that amount is about equal to what the cost of the games could have achieved through other projects.