'Where Anything Is Possible' - promotional and political narratives of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games

Christopher Richards, Stuart Whigham

Research output: Published contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

The 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast City, Australia, represents the next chapter in the ongoing evolution of the hosting strategy for this 'second order' international sporting event (Black, 2008, 2014). The modus operandi for hosts of recent iterations of the Games have predominantly been framed within notions of economic regeneration, infrastructural investment, and image branding (Black, 2014; Clark and Kearns, 2015, 2016; Mooney et al., 2015; Majumdar and Mehta, 2010; Paton et al., 2012; Whigham, 2017). To this end, the 2018 Gold Coast Games has been branded with the strapline 'Where Anything Is Possible', with an aim of encapsulating "the optimism and positive energy of the Gold Coast" which "elevates the image of the Games" in this regard (GOLDOC, 2017).

This paper will therefore critically examine the predominant promotional and political narratives which have emerged during the preparations for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, drawing upon the initial findings of two inter-related research projects. In the first project, consideration is given to the nature of the promotional rhetoric espoused by GOLDOC, the official organising committee for the 2018 Games, and their 'Embrace 2018' legacy programme. Specific consideration is given to the emergent narratives regarding the benefits of the Games with regards to economic regeneration and development in the Gold Coast City area, as well as the wider Queensland region. In the second project, the competing political narratives emerging from the discourse of various political actors and parties will be scrutinised. In particular, the tensions between the Labor-led Queensland state government and the Liberal-led federal government vis-à-vis the hosting of the 2018 Games will be considered, with consideration given to a number of controversies regarding the calling of a snap state election, labour rights, media boycotts, budget disputes, and immigration visa provision scrutinised, amongst others.

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    Richards, C., & Whigham, S. (2018). 'Where Anything Is Possible' - promotional and political narratives of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Paper presented at PSA Annual Conference 2018, Stirling, United Kingdom.