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Large cultural and sporting events do far more than just
provide opportunities to be part of an exciting and thrilling experience
Will you be one of the thousands of people across Australia (and
overseas) glued to TV screens tomorrow at 3pm? Or perhaps even lucky
enough to be at the Melbourne Cup in person? This major event, held
every year since 1861, is part of Australia's national identity. In
fact, the very phrase "the race that stops a nation" is
trademarked by the Victoria Racing Club.
Just like the rich tradition of rural and city-based agricultural
shows, Anzac Day commemorations, and of course the annual New Year's
Eve fireworks displays across the nation, large cultural and sporting
events do far more than just provide opportunities to be part of an
exciting and thrilling experience. Students of event management will
tell you that the impacts of events like these can be grouped into
three areas: economic, social/cultural and environmental.
So what does this all mean? If we think about the Melbourne Cup, for
instance, from an economic perspective, we know that it generates a
lot of money. And this isn't just from media coverage and sponsorship
deals (remember, its official name is the Emirates Melbourne
Cup). Thousands of people travel to Melbourne for the event,
generating business for airlines and hotels. And think of all those
Melbourne Cup lunches that bring extra trade to countless bars, clubs
and restaurants, not just in Melbourne, but across the nation. Not to
mention retail stores and milliners.
And this doesn't just happen in Australia. When I was working
overseas, many Australian expatriates would stop work to proudly
gather in front of a screen.
Like it or not, Australia is a sporting nation that likes to make a
bet. We like to be part of the atmosphere, to talk and read about it
at backyard social gatherings with family and friends. And we love to
celebrate the achievements of our favourite teams, both major and
local. Additionally, the focus of the Melbourne Cup includes horses,
animals that represent our colonial history. The Cup reminds us of
this heritage and provides an opportunity to share our collective
pride in Australian horse success.
Finally, more and more event organisers now pay special attention to
the environmental impact of events. For the Melbourne Cup, organisers
have to consider rubbish collection, minimisation and removal. They
have to provide more environmentally friendly ways of getting to and
from the event safely. And they have to consider noise pollution
issues, crowd movement and how this impacts on the local community and
environment. It's a lot to juggle.
So, what will you be doing tomorrow at 3pm?