A total of A$300 million ($214 million) in direct
expenditure and ticket sales is estimated to have been contributed to the
economy of Queensland in Australia by all visitors, participants and those
attending last year’s Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, according to a
newly-published evaluation report, based on a visitor study.

This comprised: expenditure of A$72 million on ticket sales;
estimated direct expenditure by of A$4.6 million by those attending non-ticketed
sports; estimated direct expenditure of A$11.7 million by other visitor groups;
estimated direct expenditure of A$67 million from travel to other parts of
Queensland; and direct expenditure of A$145 million from volunteers, ticketed
sport and visitors to an associated festival.

The figures appear to help to bolster the position of the
games against critics who question their relevance in an-already crowded
international sport schedule.

They also provide ammunition for those campaigning for the Gold Coast region to mount a bid to host the Olympic Games in 2032.

Peter Beattie, chair of the GC2018 organising committee

The report found that an estimated total of 591,332 visitors
attended or participated in GC2018 across nine visitor categories. Of these, 64
per cent were locals or day-trippers, 28 per cent were domestic overnight
visitors, and 8 per cent were overseas visitors.

Just 37 per cent of overseas visitors had visited the Gold
Coast previously, meaning 63 per cent were new to the city. Meanwhile, 95 per
cent of interstate visitors had been to the Gold Coast before, along with all
of the visitors who lived in other parts of Queensland.

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The report, compiled on behalf of the Queensland’s
government’s office of the Commonwealth Games, concluded that this indicated
that GC2018 was “a successful driver of both new and repeat visitation.”

On average, respondents to the survey that formed the basis of the report attended four sporting event sessions during their GC2018 visit, with overseas visitors attending an average of six sessions and locals attending an average of three.

Visitors to ticketed sporting events totalled 331,000, while
159,000 visitors attended non-ticketed sporting events and a further 274,000
attended an associated festival. A total of 93 per cent of visitors rated the overall
sporting event experience as excellent or good.

Soon after the games, Peter Beattie, chair of the GC2018
organising committee, claimed that a potential Queensland bid to host the 2032
Olympics was boosted by the success of the Commonwealth Games.

Following meetings with visiting International Olympic
Committee officials, Beattie said that they had been impressed by the games,
but warned that an Olympic Games could only be staged with the participation of
the federal government (the Commonwealth Games were backed by the state

Beattie said that hosting the games in south-east Queensland
would be likely to cost at least as much as the $12 billion that Tokyo is set
to spend staging the 2020 Olympics.

He said: “The two weaknesses are that you need a big stadium
and the $12 billion. Other than that, we could do it tomorrow. No state
government can do the heavy lifting of investing in an Olympics, as the state
government has done with the Commonwealth Games.”

Annastacia Palaszczuk, the premier of Queensland, subsequently
said that she was “open” to the possibility of a bid from the state to host a
future edition of the Olympic Games, albeit such a bid would be conditional on
public support and minimising costs.

She said: “I am open to the conversation, but we’re going to
take the Queensland public and the Australian public with us.

“But only if we can talk to the IOC about the size of the
venues to keep the costs to an absolute minimum.”

The opening ceremony of the GC2018 Commonwealth Games

The Queensland state government is reported to have invested A$1.5 billion into delivering the 2018 Commonwealth Games, considerably more than the total of £543 million ($751 million/A$979 million) spent by Glasgow in hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games, but much less than the $4.1-billion cost of the 2010 event held in Delhi – the most expensive Commonwealth Games ever.

Ahead of the games, the organising committee estimated that
GC2018 would generate A$2billion in economic benefits, with the estimated
budgeted value of the procurement programme alone resulting in the award of
A$550 million worth of significant contracts.

Costs were reduced through the use of temporary facilities, it was claimed at the time, with 80 per cent of games venues already in place before the games construction programme began and temporary facilities used to reduce the risk of building ‘white elephants’.

Meanwhile, the organising committee reported a surplus of
A$37.3 million which it said it would return to the Queensland government, after
spending A$1.05 billion on hosting the games, while bringing in revenues of A$1.08
billion. This was despite falling slightly short of its commercial revenue
target (96 per cent achieved) and also failing to reach its 65-per-cent target ‘level
of engagement in the games’ (57 per cent achieved), measured by ticket sales,
social media following and surveyed spectator experience.

However, ticket sales alone were regarded as an outstanding
success, with 1.2 million, or 98 per cent, of available tickets sold and issued.

An initial analysis of the commercial revenues derived from
the GC2018 games suggests that they outperformed the Glasgow 2014 games, albeit
inflation has not been taken into account and the currency exchange rate used
is the one that was in place on the final day of competition at Glasgow 2014
(see table below).

Commonwealth Games: Glasgow 2014 and GC2018 commercial revenues

Commercial revenue source

Glasgow 2014 (£m)

Glasgow 2014 (A$m)

Gold Coast 2018 (A$m)









Broadcast rights








Merchandising and licensing









Glasgow 2014

Currency exchange rate at 3 Aug 2014


The GC2018 evaluation report (based, as it is, on a visitor study) does not enable any conclusions to be drawn relating to the overall costs versus the benefits of hosting the games. The survey included 13,780 responses from those attending the games.

However, it found that 75 per cent of local residents agreed
that the Gold Coast is “growing into a world-class city with distinct strengths.”
Meanwhile, 92 per cent of visitors rated the Gold Coast as an excellent or good
place to visit, while 87 per cent said that they were likely to return.

The report concluded: “It is estimated that over 220,000 visitors
are likely to return to the event city, and approximately 218,000 new visitors
may travel to the event city on the recommendation of a friend or family. This
equates to a potential 440,000 future visitors.”

In December 2017, Birmingham in England was formally unveiled as the host of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which are projected to cost £750 million ($1 billion), after Durban in South Africa was stripped of the games over financial concerns.

A key part of Birmingham 2022’s pledge to the CGF was to deliver a “low cost, low risk, high quality games,” with 95 per cent of necessary competition venues already in place. An aquatics centre is the sole venue needing to be built.