Commonwealth Games and the Economy

Topics: Commonwealth of Nations, Multi-sport event, Commonwealth Games Pages: 13 (3621 words) Published: November 20, 2010
1|Institute of International Trade



he Commonwealth Games (CWG) is an international multi-sport event involving athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations. The Commonwealth of Nations, referred to as the Commonwealth and previously known as the British Commonwealth, is an inter-

governmental organization of fifty-four independent member states. All but two (Mozambique and Rwanda) of these countries were formerly part of the British Empire. The CWG was initiated with the objective of being a sporting event that would bring together the members of the British Empire. The event was first proposed by Reverend Astley Cooper in 1891 when he wrote an article in The Times suggesting a "Pan-Britannic-Pan-Anglican Contest and Festival every four years as a means of increasing the goodwill and good understanding of the British Empire". The event was first held in the year 1930 under the title of the British Empire Games in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. „Bobby‟ Robinson, who was a major player within athletics in Canada at the time, was the driving force behind the event. The first Games included 400 athletes from 11 countries. To help cover the travelling costs for the visiting nations, the city of Hamilton provided $30,000. The success of the first Games at Hamilton in 1930 provided enough incentive to make them regular. Since 1930, they have taken place every four years except for 1942 and 1946, when they were disrupted due to World War II. The event was renamed British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1954, the British Commonwealth Games in 1970, and gained its current title in 1978. Only six teams have attended every Commonwealth Games event: Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, Scotland and Wales. From the first host city of Hamilton in Canada, the Games have been held in many of the major Commonwealth Countries. Canada again held the Games in Vancouver in 1954, Edmonton in 1978 and Victoria in 1994. Australia has also held the games on four occasions, Sydney in 1938, Perth 1962, Brisbane 1982 and Melbourne in 2006. In 1998, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia hosted the games for the first time in an Asian country. In 2010, the XIX CWG returned to Asia and was hosted by Delhi.



t is somewhat complicated to assess the net economic impact of major sporting events on a country‟s economy. The economic rationale of hosting major sporting events like the Olympic Games or the Football World Cup is often questionable. Financial costs are

enormous which may be suggestive of the opinion that political vanity is generally the primary

2|Institute of International Trade
motivating factor for host countries. Even though it is a known fact that mega-events can nonetheless leave substantial legacies in the form of infrastructure and urban renewal, much depends on the extent to which new facilities fit broader economic interests. In the current economic scenario where the countries are increasingly being plagued with fiscal constraints, skepticism regarding the events is likely to keep brewing in the coming years, especially since the governments‟ economic competence has been eroded by the global financial crisis. Investment needed in developing a country‟s basic infrastructure may be crowded out due to the construction of stadiums and sports facilities. This is a prime cause of concern when developing countries host mega-events when their basic infrastructural facilities are in dire need of investment. For such an economy, it may be more appropriate to return the taxpayers‟ money to where it came from or spend it on the much needed basic amenities instead of using the fund for maintenance of the “white elephant” constructions that will never be of much use to serve an economic purpose. COST/BENEFIT ANALYSIS OF GAMES ON THE ECONOMY Benefits Pre-Games Phase Tourism Construction Activity Costs Investment Expenditure Preparatory operational...
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