Comm Games cost makes hosting a headache

NIGEL YALDEN
Last updated 05:00 08/02/2014

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OPINION: Why is no-one interested in hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games?

Because it's cost everyone involved way too much money.

Yes folks, it is as plain and as simple as economics 101, as our American friends would say.

Official notes in interest in hosting the 2022 edition of the games have to be into the Commonwealth Games Federation by the end of next month.

But as of yet, not one city has signalled a formal desire to be the host city.

There is a very real and very disconcerting possibility that the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast could be the last ... ever.

Just looking at what the games in Glasgow are going to cost gives a very graphic example as to why it's being put in the way too hard basket.

The Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council agreed to underwrite the Organising Committee's net running costs to stage the coming games.

The most recent budgeted figure that I could find on the internet is £523.6 million (NZ$1.03 billion).

That's like nine America's Cup campaigns for Team New Zealand (sorry yachting fans, couldn't resist the dig).

But it's not just the cost of hosting the event that is killing the Commonwealth Games.

The cost of going to the games is out of control too.

Accommodation providers alone see events like Commonwealth Games as a licence to charge outrageous prices, something that is already taking place in and around Glasgow, but something that has also been noted and reported widely.

The trouble is that people pay those prices, often out of desperation in order watch a loved one compete, and thus the cycle of greed continues.

One suggestion that has been put forward is to reduce the number of sports from 17 to 10, given that hosting a 10 event Commonwealth Games would clearly be economically more attractive than hosting a 17 event games.

However, and this is looking at things from a solely New Zealand point of view, that could be the death knell for some minor sports in our country, that are in constant battle to obtain and maintain funding to give their athletes opportunities at the highest level. For some of those competitors, the Commonwealth Games is their pinnacle.

Creating a sustainable financial model for the Games clearly is the key to its survival and, thankfully, greater minds than mine are working on that.

But in the interim, why not approach London to host in 2022?

All the venues are there after the 2012 London Olympics and while those venues will be 10 years old by that time, most remain in regular use.

And just to finish, I would again like to float an idea that I first put forward in this newspaper in October 2010.

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That being instead of having a host city, appoint a host country and use sporting facilities around that country, thus easing the pressure that comes from having one focal point for the Commonwealth Games.

- Fairfax Media

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