Six months after the Commonwealth Games left town, the Gold Coast's sports venues are booked solid.
For the remainder of 2018, on average, there are three days a month without a sporting event being held somewhere on the Gold Coast. Every weekend, with the exception of just two, has multiple events running in the lead up to 2019.
The flurry of activity continues into the new year, with venues booked out until February. An added bonus in May is the arrival of the SportAccord World Sport and Business Summit, one of the most prestigious sports conventions.
It’s good news for sports fans, and even better news for the community, according to Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones.
“GC2018 demonstrated the Gold Coast’s ability to host large-scale, international sporting events and left a lasting legacy of new and upgraded venues and infrastructure,” she says.
“Hosting SportAccord is the next step in securing major international events for the city and our state, with the benefits of securing events potentially setting us up over the next ten years.”
SportAccord will bring more than 1,500 representatives from up to 100 countries to the Gold Coast. Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate says it’s an influx the city’s prepared to handle.
“Having SportAccord in our city will turbocharge the opportunities for the Gold Coast to further activate our sporting arenas, as well as our sports science and training facilities,” he says.
“This is post-Games legacy in action.”
The post-Games legacy is something bigger cities than the Gold Coast have struggled with. Olympic facilities in Rio de Janeiro and Athens were infamously left abandoned in the months following their time in the spotlight.
Even Sydney’s Olympic Park became a white elephant, the former abattoir site languishing quietly for years after the Games until its hasty redevelopment as a suburb.
Unusually, the announcement in 2011 that the Gold Coast would host the 2018 Commonwealth Games didn’t lead to the frenzied burst of development that transformed those cities. The majority of the required venues were already in place – a factor that played a large role in securing the Games.
From lawn bowls to mountain biking, the Gold Coast’s line up of venues handled the myriad of the Commonwealth Games sports. Some clever double-duty work, such as the use of Village Roadshow Studios for squash, boxing and table tennis, further showcased the host city’s versatility on the world stage.
It’s that versatility that’s attracted major events including the National Clubs Gymnastics Carnival at the Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre, the Wallabies v Argentina rugby clash at CBUS Stadium, and the NFL’s inaugural international draft, which will be held in the city in October.
“Millions of Americans will see first-hand not only the NFL International Combine, but the Gold Coast as a world-class tourism and major events destination,” Jones says.
“For many cities, hosting an international sporting event means change. For the Gold Coast, it is an evolution.”
SportAccord will be held on the Gold Coast from May 5-10, 2019.