Strategic business leveraging of a mega sport event: The Sydney 2000 Olympic games experience

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This research project explored the means by which the global attention focused on Australia for the Sydney 2000
Olympic Games was leveraged by various national, state and regional stakeholders to facilitate business and
investment development in Australia.
The key stakeholders involved in strategy formulation and implementation at each level are identified, as are
the key tenets of the actual strategies employed. In addition, an indication of some of the potential longer-term
business legacies for Australia and the wider international event sector are explored.
Primary data consisted of 92 semi-structured interviews with actors from federal, state and regional
governments’ economic development agencies, tourism commissions, events agencies, regional marketers, sport
and recreation departments, and elite sport development agencies. Other interviewees were from the Olympic
movement, and represented National Olympic Committees, individual Olympic teams, and the Sydney
Organising Committee for the Olympic Games.
The findings of this research suggest a re-focus beyond the immediate impact of an event, and more towards
the devotion of resources to the actual leveraging of the opportunities that a focal event presents. Strategic
business leveraging around sport events presents very real opportunities for the generation of enduring event
outcomes, and may be a new and permanent addition to the mega event landscape.
Overall, the study produced four key findings that indicate that effective business leveraging requires: (1)
strategic activity aimed at the a priori identification of sport tourists and the networks that these actors could
potentially create access to; (2) attention to horizontal structures of integration that facilitate collaborative
behaviour, exchanges of information-based resources, and regional ownership of leveraging strategies; (3)
facilitation of an environment conducive to relationship development and organisational learning; and, (4)
recognition of the complexity of event networks, and of the actual networking process as it pertains to mega
events and business leveraging.
As a result of the learning engendered by the Sydney 2000 business leveraging initiatives, this report argues
that, as a learning community, a paradigm shift has taken place where the stakeholders of mega sport events
should now approach their events from a more holistic, network-driven perspective, with an eye towards longerterm,
sustainable business outcomes, in addition to the traditional emphasis on short-term, visitation-related
impacts. With business leveraging an apparently new feature on the sport event landscape, further investigation
on future events is warranted to further understand this phenomenon, and to build upon the findings of this
largely exploratory study.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationGold Coast
PublisherSustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre
Commissioning bodyThe Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre
Number of pages33
ISBN (Print)1-920704-28-0
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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