Pete Fairbairn, Group Account Director (Sport), Thrive PR + Communications
It is a historic day for residents of the sunshine state, waking up following last night’s announcement that Brisbane and Southeast Queensland will host the Olympic Games for the first time in 2032 – but, importantly, it’s also a day to celebrate for all Australians.
The first-ever bid to be selected unopposed under a new IOC system, designed to reduce unnecessary spending in bid campaigns and avoid the risk of corruption and ‘vote buying’, the 2032 Games will also provide an opportunity for the state to showcase the last decade’s celebrated investment in world-class high-performance facilities, as well as providing the impetus to upgrade iconic venues such as the Gabba.
Queensland as a state truly does embrace all sports, with a genuine commitment to investing in facilities and to hosting athletes and competitions, so it feels only natural that the world’s most famous sporting competition head this way. All four football codes enjoy fanatical support in Queensland, while the investment to bring AFL, NRL, WNBL, and Super Netball hubs to the state in 2020 and 2021 demonstrates a clear commitment to both men’s and women’s sport. From tennis to golf, surfing to sailing and supercars – we have had it all, and now we want all the world’s best athletes to come and experience it in 2032. I mean, we’re even home to the best outdoor ski facility in the world – yep, despite 23-degree winter days, our Winter Olympians do their reps right here!
There’s a reason why Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Cairns, Rockhampton, Townsville, Port Douglas, and more all hosted pre-Olympic Games training camps, not just for Australian athletes but others throughout the Pacific region. The facilities are top-notch – and the flow-on effect economically for those communities and others throughout the state - and the country - cannot be underestimated. Brisbane will host matches at the FIFA 2023 Women’s World Cup, arguably the biggest football event in Australian history, and will play a huge role in attempts to secure the Rugby World Cup in 2027 too, while the legacy of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games will last long in the memory.
And of course, there are Queensland’s athletes; from Ash Barty, Ariarne Titmus and Charlotte Caslick, to Mitch Larkin, Logan Martin (google him if you don’t know!) and Julian Wilson, the upcoming Tokyo games will again showcase that Queensland is the birthplace of many of our country’s best medal hopes.
But for the rest of the country, this news is also monumental. I will never forget Sydney 2000 – as a thirteen-year-old kid, I watched hours and hours from interstate every day for two and a half weeks, never feeling prouder of my country and our ability to host this celebration of all things sport. Yes, it was the Games of Cathy, but it was also the Games of Tatiana Grigorieva, Jai Taurima, Michael Johnson, and Eric The Eel.
It was the Games that inspired so many of today’s Olympians, and people like me who grew up dreaming of working in sport – and have been fortunate enough to live that dream. A home Games is for all Aussies, something to truly saviour, and something to truly strive towards being a part of – somehow.
From a Thrive perspective, we pride ourselves as an agency for always being forward-thinking – but eleven years ahead is, admittedly, a fair way out! Be that as it may, we can’t help but already start considering opportunities there may be for our clients and how this might impact their business. We have a long and proud history working in sports, whether that’s with state and sport governing bodies, major corporate partners, athletes or broadcasters – so if you’re reading this and want to have a yarn, please do reach out.
So, let’s all raise a Milton Mango, a bundy and coke or a Mooloolaba prawn; here’s to Queensland, and here’s to Australia. Beautiful one day, hosting the Olympics the next!