Just about every Australian city has had a disastrous experience with a publicly-subsidised motor race. In most cases, the governments concerned have been advocates of market liberalism, who somehow find it possible to make an exception for motorsport.
Adelaide spent a fortune to buy the Grand Prix, only to see Jeff Kennett spend even more to entice it to Melbourne (at the same time as he was closing schools and sacking hospital staff). Economically unsound from the outset, the Grand Prix has experienced steadily declining attendance and interest, and is unlikely to last beyond 2015.
Kate Carnell in Canberra wasted a fortune on the V8 Supercars before admitting defeat. Before that, there was the Greiner government’s Eastern Creek fiasco. Now, we have another fiasco on the Gold Coast.
I’ll pass over the easy pointscoring about a government, claiming to be reduced to such straits that it has to sell off the family silver, blowing over $10 million on a sporting event. Even supposing we had to spend this money on sport, surely we could do better than this low-grade exercise. I have a few suggestions over the fold, and would welcome more.
First up, we could make a comparison to the Masters Games in Sydney which got heaps of global publicity (a quick look at Google News confirms this, and suggests that the Gold Coast event was internationally invisible), and attracted large numbers of international participants, for a comparable expenditure ($8.5 million each from NSW and the Cwlth). There are many such events we could go after, or else establish our own.
And if this kind of money is available to splash around, why not do something really spectacular, like buying the Grand Finals in one of the major football codes?
Any more suggestions?