Brisbane Goodwill Games 2001

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MEI's Rachael Church–Sanders takes a closer look at the Brisbane Goodwill Games that were held in 2001.

The Goodwill Games were the brainchild of US media mogul Ted Turner and organised by his media company Turner Broadcasting. The Goodwill Games began in 1986 in the host city of Moscow, Russia as a way to ease tensions during the Cold War through friendly, invitational athletic competition between nations. Following the end of the Cold War, the Goodwill Games' focus shifted toward youth initiatives. Using sport as a way to better young people's lives, the Goodwill Games raised millions of dollars for charity. Subsequent Goodwill Games took place in Seattle (1990), St Petersburg (1994), New York City (1998), Brisbane, Australia (2001) and a Winter Goodwill Games took place in Lake Placid in 2000. The 2001 Goodwill Games in Brisbane were secured for the city by the Queensland Events Corporation and heralded the first time that the Games were held outside the US and Russia. Queensland Events Corporation was set up in February 1989 by the Queensland state government after the World Expo was held in Brisbane in 1988 and received 18m visitors. Brisbane had already changed its image successfully following its hosting of the Commonwealth Games in 1982 to that of an international city with world class sporting facilities. The 1994 World Masters Games–the largest multisport event ever held anywhere in the world at that time–and the 1994 World Gymnastics Championships, have since put Brisbane firmly on the sporting map. Queensland Events Corporation's charter is to create significant economic activity and lift the national and international profile of Queensland through the hosting of major events. Biddng ProcessAllan Boosey, Queensland Events Corporation's former deputy chief executive and now business sector manager for events management knowledge at London Metropolitan University, explained why Brisbane was keen to secure the Goodwill Games. "It was an unique opportunity for Brisbane to reach a global television audience and we saw it as a true partnership between Brisbane and the Goodwill Games. "Rather than going through the bidding processes used for other major events, the cities themselves were assessed by Goodwill Games representatives separately. Said Boosey: "We never actually went to head to head with our competitors like during an Olympic bidding campaign. The Goodwill Games committee went through their own elimination process as they visited each city. "Brisbane's competitors for the 2001 Goodwill Games were initially Capetown, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Osaka, Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, although the list was shortened prior to the city visits. "The chief executive of Queensland Events had initially travelled to New York in March 1997 and met up with Mike Plant who was president of the Goodwill Games and expressed our interest in the whole concept, " explained Boosey. "Mike Plant and his team then came to Brisbane to make an on–site evaluation and check our facilities. They were suitably impressed and said there was no reason why we couldn't be a contender. We then hired Ernst & Young to help us with a feasibility study and that was completed later in 1997. "A steering committee was subsequently formed comprising several Queensland government departments and Brisbane City Council as well as sports federation representatives. "All that was put in place in 1997. Once the feasibility study was done and we felt ready to proceed in bidding, the Goodwill Games invited us to Atlanta where we made a presentation to six Turner/Goodwill Games executives in February 1998. "Among other areas, Brisbane's bid document and presentation addressed the following topics:Organisational governance structureQueensland Events 'sport event history'Government supportProposed Games venuesProposed sports in addition to Goodwill Games own sport requirementsAthlete hotels/accommodationHost broadcast facilitiesCommunity supportMedia support (local and Australia–wide)Airport and ground transportation informationVIP/hospitality opportunitiesCharity componentSecurity programme and assistanceSuggested Time Warner entertainment sitesFinancial support to adhere to host city contract commitmentsGold Coast information (Surf Life Saving)Brisbane/Queensland objectives as host of the 2001 GamesOf particular importance to the bid was evidence of funding said Boosey: "This was paramount because we were entering into a partnership. There had to be a financially secure arrangement in place between both of us because we were sharing responsibility and costs as well as the benefits. "The Goodwill Games awarding committee had its own agenda according to Boosey and it felt that Brisbane met all the requirements that were of importance. "Those criteria were our commitment and guarantees to deliver our end of the partnership. "The support of the Queensland government was also extremely important to the success of the bid added Boosey, as was the patronage of the sports body representatives. "As part of the bid document there was evidence of commitment and full support from the 12 national sporting organisations. And that was fundamental to the success of the bid. There was no point in us trying to stage particular sports if there wasn't the commitment from their federations. ""The fact that we had a proven track record of hosting major events was one of the things that got us across the line as well, " said Boosey. "If you have that knowledge and can prove that you can run an event, it goes a long way, because otherwise you are entering untested waters. The event owner of course wants to minimise the risk of the event not happening. "And how important was evidence of robust sporting facilities to winning the bid in Boosey's opinion? "We were quite fortunate because we still had the facilities that had been built for the Commonwealth Games, even though they were a little tired and old. A lot of those facilities were then upgraded. For example the main stadium for the Commonwealth Games in 1982 was subsequently used for the Broncos rugby league team. For the Goodwill Games, the government immediately agreed to put an athletics track back into it and that – combined with a warm up track outside the stadium that was the state athletics facility and upgraded in itself–meant we ended up with an athletics facility that would have been good enough to stage an athletics world championships, " said Boosey. "That's what the Goodwill Games did. It brought life back into some tired facilities and upgraded them such as the swimming pool and velodrome that had been used in the Commonwealth Games. "The strengths of the other bidding cities was not a consideration to the Queensland Events Group said Boosey. "The point of difference between ourselves and our competitors was not to put them down, but to concentrate on what was good about us–our weather, our facilities, our environment and our way of life and culture, " he explained. "It's always better to be positive about yourself because no event owner is going to be impressed with bids that knock the competition. "The Goodwill Games was to make its last outing in Brisbane due to Turner officials arguing that the games no longer made financial sense. Indeed it is understood that the last six Goodwill Games events combined to make a combined loss of more than $110m. However, Brisbane's lasting legacy from the Games was the strengthening of the city's reputation for hosting high–quality sporting events. "The fact that so many facilities were upgraded for the purpose of staging the Goodwill Games was tremendous. It can therefore be stated that the lasting legacies were the excellent renovated sporting facilities in Brisbane, " said Boosey. The article above first appeared in Bidding and Hosting: The Guide to Successful Sporting Events (Sportcal, October 2003), written by Rachael Church–Sanders.

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