An open letter to the South Australian public - 2.5
Billion reasons to host the 2026 Commonwealth
Sport SA has been quite clear with government that the opportunity to host the 2026
Commonwealth Games is an opportunity that should not be missed. Not just for the sporting
event itself but for the myriad of other benefits that hosting an international event of this
magnitude brings. And let’s be clear here, the Commonwealth Games committee have
already indicated that South Australia is the preferred site for the Games – it’s ours for the
taking, we just have to reach out and take it.
However, in recently participating in a radio interview about hosting the Games, it was clear
that the public isn’t really that sold on the idea. So, let’s take a closer look at the most recent
Commonwealth Games and see if we can’t sway public opinion.
So why would South Australia want to host a Commonwealth Games? Well let’s start with
the numbers. The most recent Games were held on the Gold Coast in 2018 and the
numbers are compelling.
The Games report, recently released by the Queensland government, indicates that:
The Commonwealth Games injected $2.5 billion, yes billion, dollars into the economy
Over 21 500 new jobs were created in the lead up the Games
An international audience of 1.5 billion people tuned in to watch the Games
Over 6600 competitors from 71 countries competed in the Games (and their support
staff numbered in the thousands more)
Over 1.2 million tickets were sold to events
Approximately 82 per cent of Games-wide contracts were awarded to Queensland
businesses, worth nearly $1.7 billion
The Games were held in 18 world-class facilities; including three new sporting
venues, one new multi-purpose venue and seven upgraded venues.
These venues are now supporting the local community and hosting national and
international events. Some venues are booked out 18 months in advance.
As compelling as these numbers are there were also some important firsts that occurred on
the Gold Coast in 2018, firsts that we would love to see duplicated here. For the first time
women’s participation matched men’s, with an equal number of medals being awarded to
women and men.
Importantly, this was also the first Commonwealth Games to integrate the para-athletic
events into the Games itself with a 45 per cent increase in the number of para-participants -
hosting nearly 300 athletes across 38 medal events.
The first ever Commonwealth Games Reconciliation Action Plan was developed providing a
platform to recognise, respect and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures
and GC2018 implemented a range of initiatives to encourage lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender, intersexual and queer (LGBTIQ+) inclusion at GC2018.
Alongside the sporting schedule the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games delivered Festival
2018, the arts and culture program for the Games, which was the largest arts and culture
event ever hosted in Queensland with 550 events and more than 1.1 million attendees.
In addition the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Trade and Investment Program,
was one of the most extensive business, trade and investment engagement campaigns for
an international sporting event.
The benefits of hosting a Games are so much broader than a 12 day sporting event. In
Queensland these benefits included:
More than 1.3 million visitors in the lead-up to, during and after the Games –
spending more than $1.1 billion in Queensland
The Games was broadcast to an estimated world-wide audience of 1.5 billion people,
showcasing the Gold Coast and Queensland as premiere tourism destinations
So far, more than 100 national and international events have been secured in
Queensland as a result of hosting the Games.
Trade 2018: GC2018’s trade and investment program, showcased the Gold Coast
and Queensland as a destination to invest and to do business
Through the exposure generated by Trade 2018, additional exports and foreign
direct investment of about $840 million are estimated over the four years post-
International Trade 2018 activations were undertaken in seven priority
During the Games, more than 2500 attendances were recorded across 32 Trade
2018 events with site visits held on the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns
Two Queensland businesses that participated in Trade 2018 have secured their first
export deals with a buyer who attended the showcase.
In the words of The Honourable Kate Jones, Minister for Innovation and Tourism: GC2018
was a transformational event for the Gold Coast, our event cities and communities
throughout Queensland. It has created an impressive legacy for Queensland - boosting
tourism, driving trade and investment, delivering new and improved infrastructure, and
extending our global status as a place for world-class events.
Now I don’t want to sound like a patriotic South Australian here, but hey if Queensland can
do this, we can, can’t we?
We certainly know how to run a mighty fine festival, look at Fringe and Festival, Dream Big,
WOMAD and Cabaret to name a few. And we know how to host great sporting events, The
Tour Down Under, Adelaide 500, The Formula 1 (before Victoria stole it) International
Tennis (and now WTA events) at Memorial Drive and the first ever day-night cricket test.
We know we have an incredible state with the most beautiful places to visit and the food and
wine to match it. (We know it but sadly not everyone knows it) The Barossa and Claire,
McLaren Vale, Victor Harbour, the Flinders Ranges and our amazing regional towns and
cities. Why wouldn’t we want to showcase these to the world – to potentially 1.2 million
visitors here for the Games and a 1.5 billion audience globally? You can’t buy that kind of
I recently interviewed a young woman from London who was here in Adelaide as her
husband had been transferred through his work. I asked her what she knew about Adelaide
and South Australia before coming here. Her answer; she had never heard of us, didn’t even
know we existed. Of course, now that she is here she is loving it and raving about our
Let’s show the world we exist South Australia, let’s show the world that we welcome them
here as tourists, to trade and invest with us, oh and for 12 days we will also host the best
athletes in the Commonwealth and our next generation of aspiring athletes will be able to
attend and watch them live and aspire to be like them.
And not only will our elite athletes aspire to be like them, all South Australian’s might be
inspired to get out and get more active through this event. We know how many lycra
wearing cyclists appear during the Tour Down Under!
We do know that these types of events, particularly when our own athletes are successful,
have a bounce back effect in our grassroots sporting clubs. More people feel inspired to get
out and participate and of course more people participating in sport means less of a burden
on our health budget. It really is a win-win.
Also for our grassroots clubs is the opportunity for legacy sporting infrastructure from the
Games. It is true we already have great sporting venues that are Games ready and great
entertainment venues that can be converted to be Games ready but inevitably with hosting
an event of this scale there will need to be upgrades and/or new venues purpose built. This
creates jobs and investment and creates new or upgraded venues that can be used by the
community post Games. Exactly the outcome that has occurred on the Gold Coast.
Another potential community benefit is the athletes village, 6600 people have to sleep
somewhere...but what happens to the athletes village post Games? Wouldn’t it be great if
the village was designed in a way that it could be used for affordable housing post Games,
what an incredible Games legacy this would be?
There are so many legacies that this Games could bring to our beautiful state, there are so
many opportunities to connect and showcase our Arts, food, wine, tourist and regional cities
through this event. There are so many exciting opportunities to inspire our next generation
of elite athletes as well as our couch athletes.
What a legacy this government would be leaving if we put our hand up to host the 2026
Come on South Australia, we can do this, let’s get behind it, let’s make 2026 the year the
whole world discovers South Australia?
To view the full Gold Coast Commonwealth games report visit: https://publications.qld.gov.au/dataset ... oast-2018-
For further information please contact: Leah Cassidy, CEO, Sport SA, on 08 8353 7755,
Mobile: 0427 371 165 or email email@example.com
Authorised by Sport SA, Military Road West Beach SA 5024