The paper "Hall Mark Event Management - the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games" is a perfect example of a management case study. Although the Sydney Olympics occurred over a decade ago, the city and the Olympic event remain etched on the minds of Australians, the organisers, and most importantly, those who attended the games. Notably, the Sydney Olympic event has been the focus of several academic explorations, most especially books, most of them investigating the social, cultural and economic impact that the event had on Sydney, and Australia as a whole.
One such book is “ The times of our lives: Inside the Sydney Olympics: Australia and the Olympic Games 1994-2002” by Harry Gordon. In the book (Chapter 2), Gordon (2003: 50) documents that the bid to have the Olympics in Sydney began in May 1991, and was not only a costly affair financially with the bid costing $18 million, but was also a time-consuming undertaking that involved exhaustive lobbying based on a “ terse assessment of Sydney’ s strengths and weaknesses” (Gordon, 2003: 51). The final presentation that led to Sydney’ s win to hold the 2000 summer Olympic Games specifically sought to portray the city as “ a friendly city where it doesn’ t matter where you come from” (Gordon, 2003: 55).
After a tight contest with Beijing (which was also bidding to hold the same event), Sydney won with 45 votes over Beijing’ s 43 votes (Gordon, 2003, p. 55). To win the bid, and deliver the games successfully, Sydney had to undertake several initiatives. Repackaging Sydney The Olympic Games has been branded as one of the greatest sporting events, whose social, economic, and cultural effects are felt by the host country for years to come (OECD, 2010: 18).
With such knowledge in mind, most governments brand and repackage the host cities through imaging and reimaging, and by so doing, turns the cities in to commodities. As Tyler, Guerrier and Robertson (1998:233, cited by Henderson, 2000: 37) note, the cities are turned in to “ a product competing with other products in the marketplace. .. a place to be consumed” . Ward (1998: 1, cited by Henderson, 2000: 37) further observes that when repackaging a destination through event management, the event planners usually selectively pick, appropriate and repackage social and cultural meanings in the subject city, playing down any problems therein, and creating an attractive place for visitors. Repackaging Sydney was a joint effort between dedicated event organisers, policymakers and the government in general (Gordon, 2003: 80).
In addition to constructing stadiums that would host the Olympic Games, there were also other urban development initiatives that the government took up in order to enhance the city’ s image on the national, regional, and most importantly, on the international level. Among the works that took place in order to repackage Sydney included building new stadiums, renovating existing stadiums, the construction of a new suburb, and the transformation of Sydney’ s city centre.
Most specifically, Bermingham (2000:307) notes that existing sports facilities in Sydney were renovated, new bus shelters were built, and recreation facilities remodelled. In addition, there were government initiatives that moved the urban poor and homeless away from the city during the duration of the game. Repackaging Sydney would have been incomplete without the active participation of the media. Although the event organising team dedicated a substantial budget to advertising and marketing the event, Bermingham (2000: 308) also notes that the media served a pivotal role before, during and after the event in creating positive publicity for the city.
As Bermingham (2000: 308) notes, media coverage started right when Sydney won the bid in 1993, and in part inspired by the promise of a ‘ green Olympics’ .
Amin, A & Thrift, N 2002, Cities: Reimagining the urban, Polity Press, Cambridge, MA.
Bermingham, S 2000, Changing environment, Heinemann, London.
Gordon, H 2003, The tines of our lives: Inside the Sydney Olympics: Australia and the Olympic Games 1994-2002, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, Queensland.
Henderson, J 2000, ‘Selling places: The new Asia-Singapore brand’, The Journal of Tourism Studies, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 36-44.
OECD 2010, ‘Local development benefits from staging global events: achieving the local development legacy from 2012’, A Peer Review of the Olympic and Paralympics’ legacy for East London, Department of Communities & Local Government, UK, pp. 1-88.