Menu
daisies
Main content

 

 

 

First Base is the equivalent of an 'Editorial'. It is the opportunity for S & A to provide comment and provoke discussion on topical issues relating to leisure and tourism. This will be provided each month and we would welcome your feedback on the matters raised.

First Base 3: A letter from 'DOWN UNDER' Sydney's Olympic legacy

Date: 20/5/2004

Christmas presented an opportunity to travel to Sydney to see first hand HOK+LOBB SPORTS marvellous 'Stadium Australia' and the other sporting venues at Olympic Park, Homebush. Much praise has already been heaped upon Rod Sheards' $463m, 110,000 seater stadium, all I can do is to endorse everything that has been said in its favour. I also refer you to the case study on the stadium that appears in Rod's new book, "Sports Architecture" published this year by SPON (ISBN 0-419-21220-5. www.efnspon.com )

Christmas presented an opportunity to travel to Sydney to see first hand HOK+LOBB SPORTS marvellous 'Stadium Australia' and the other sporting venues at Olympic Park, Homebush. Much praise has already been heaped upon Rod Sheards' $463m, 110,000 seater stadium, all I can do is to endorse everything that has been said in its favour. I also refer you to the case study on the stadium that appears in Rod's new book, "Sports Architecture" published this year by SPON (ISBN 0-419-21220-5. www.efnspon.com )

Importantly, however, the New South Wales government and the Olympic Co-ordinating Authority now face major strategic decisions about the long term future of Olympic Park. Just before Christmas the Olympic Minister, Michael Knight, published a booklet on his vision for Olympic Park. This vision calls for a critical mass of additional leisure and commercial developments capable of attracting between 25,000 and 30,000 people a day to the Homebush location in order to make the development viable.

This thinking was required five years ago and on-going development strategies in-built from the outset. It is frankly staggering that this was not the case. The absence of such strategic planning is fuelling the critics of the Olympic Games and editorials over the holiday period in key Sydney papers highlight the widespread concerns of a negative Olympic legacy.

Michael Daley writing in the 'City Hub' paper, for example, reflects that any voice criticising the Olympics is regarded as 'un-Australian', yet real questions have to be asked as to the validity of spending some 50 years of capital money in five years in a country with a population of just 19m.

On 26 December the editorial in the Sydney Herald queried the real need to create the world's biggest collection of sporting venues in one location including: the biggest stadium ever used for an Olympics, the biggest indoor arena in Australia (costing $140m), $30m for a shooting venue, and $40m for an equestrian centre.

At this moment in time the Aquatics Centre has undergone a successful retro-fitout and serves as a major recreational and leisure swim facility for the residents of west Sydney (see picture). Tours are on offer around the Stadium and the on-site hotels appear to be attaining reasonable levels of occupancy. Residential development is happening on the fringe of the Park and there are early signs of a new life after the Games.

However, it is clear from Knight's booklet that a long-term vision for the Park was never fully endorsed by Government. The accolade from the International Olympic Committee (see Interview with IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch in 'Leisure Management' September 2000) that these were the "best Games ever" is now beginning to rub a little thin amongst observers in Sydney.

In Atlanta, for all its faults, the Olympic legacy was to deliver a dispersed range of sports facilities to a wide range of after-users. A similar strategy existed in Barcelona. The clustering of such a collection of major facilities in one location on the fringe of the city has created a real challenge for the Government. Lessons need to be heeded to inform future thinking on facility development strategies associated with multi-sports events.

Bass to enter the Australian budget hotel sector

Hotel analysts in Australia expect the limited service end of the market to provide major growth potential over the next five years. The sector is already well represented with Travelodge and the French group Accor (with Ibis and Formula 1) dominant. There is oversupply in the traditional rooms markets and staffing costs are especially high in Oz. As a result, British hotel and leisure company Bass is seriously considering a move into Australia to complement its existing three to five-star product base.

When Pritzker sold the SPHC group to Bass for some 110m in 2000 it kept the Travelodge brand. Bass's Chief Operating Officer for Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, Tony South, recognises the opportunity for Bass to fill the gap through its Holiday Inn Express brand. Although likely returns are favourable, the biggest issue facing the company will be the availability of suitable sites.

Dr Terry Stevens

Go back

First base archive

  • First Base 4: The organisation of UK Tourist Industry under scrutiny
    Autumn 2000 will go down as a period when the organisation of tourism in... more

  • First Base 3: A letter from 'DOWN UNDER' Sydney's Olympic legacy
    Christmas presented an opportunity to travel to Sydney to see first hand... more

  • First Base 2: Leisure retailing where's the future?
    At this year's TiLE Conference The Henley Centre published research findings that showed... more

  • First Base 1: "Breaking the camel's back...!"
    Following the publication of the ETC's 'Action for Attractions' strategy and the well publicised... more

  • 24 items

    Previous 1 2 3 [4]

footer