While the Gold Coast is world-renowned for its sun, surf and sand, the flourishing Australian city is proving it can kick big goals in a range of industries, emerging as one of Asia-Pacific’s elite sporting destinations.
The Gold Coast is fast establishing itself as a globally recognised sporting destination, scaling the ladder of global sports industry rankings and forming a bold appetite for growth and development.
In the lead up to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth GamesTM (GC2018), the city is undergoing major transformation and investing in key infrastructure projects with approximately $12 billion in major developments planned or underway.
This development, combined with the Gold Coast’s enviable natural environment and its proven strengths in hosting large-scale sporting events has seen the city step out onto the world stage and be recognised for its evolving sporting culture.
While the Gold Coast is receiving recognition amongst some of the globe’s sport city leaders of London, New York and Melbourne, it is also demonstrating that its core strengths lie beyond the staging of global events.
The Gold Coast is carving a niche as a city recognised for sport excellence and innovation; from cutting-edge research in sport science and leading coaching techniques to innovative product development and manufacturing.
Further bolstering the city’s success as an emerging sport powerhouse is the growing number of high-profile sport teams that choose to train on the Gold Coast and the international sporting icons that have made it their base.
Preparation for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth GamesTM
The international spotlight will be on the Gold Coast in 2018 when the city hosts one of the largest multi-sport events in the world.
In preparation, the City of Gold Coast is embracing transformative projects with approximately $12 billion in major infrastructure projects planned or underway.
This includes approximately $200 million in new and upgraded sporting infrastructure, building on the city’s existing high performance sport facilities.
For the city, GC2018 is more than an event hosting experience; it is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring about rapid transformation across the economy and community, while showcasing the city as an emerging global destination.
Major event hosting
The Gold Coast has an ambitious event acquisition strategy and has invested significantly to grow its existing event portfolio.
The city has successfully hosted the 2014 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, 2015 FINA Diving Grand Prix and 2015–2018 International Triathlon Union World Triathlon Series.
On the back of these successful events, the Gold Coast is preparing to host the 2017 FINA Diving Grand Prix, 2017 Sudirman Cup World Team Badminton championships, Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth GamesTM and 2020 World Bowls Championships.
However, the City isn’t just looking internationally to build its event portfolio having supported 58 state and national championships since 2014 worth $26.6 million, including the 2016 Volleyball Australia Junior National Championships and the 2016 AFL Masters National Championships.
Elite training destination
The Gold Coast first established itself as a high-performance training centre in the lead-up to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, hosting the entire British Olympic team for pre-Games camps.
This campaign led the British team to 11 Olympic gold medals; an outstanding improvement on the 1996 Games when the team won a single gold medal.
Since then, the City has continued to invest in facilities, accommodation and services to transform it into the elite training destination that it is today.
Over the last two years alone, the Gold Coast has hosted elite teams including Manchester City Football Club, Spanish Villareal CF Football Club, English Rugby League Team and the American, Canadian, Chinese and Japanese swim teams have used the city as their base for pre-event or pre-season training.
The Gold Coast also welcomed a number of Australian national teams including the Australian Women’s Basketball team and the Australian Women’s Cricket team.
Meanwhile, the Australian Institute of Sport calls the Gold Coast home for its sprint canoe, triathlon and BMX programs, with Swimming Australia also having a number of endorsed training facilities on the Gold Coast.
The city is also the base for a large number of high-profile athletes including Sally Pearson, Cameron McEvoy, Mick Fanning and Emma Moffatt, who are supported by some of the world’s best coaching, management and medical staff.
Enviable natural environment
With a sub-tropical environment, the city experiences an average of 10 hours of sunshine for approximately 300 days of the year. The climate makes training possible year-round.
Unparalleled natural assets give athletes access to 57 kilometres of coastline, 21,000 hectares of parklands, 200 kilometres of navigable waterways and heritage-listed rainforests for training and recovery sessions.
As the city has grown it has maintained its natural environment, with specialised management of key natural assets to enhance and ensure long-term sustainability.
In addition, Southern Gold Coast surfing beaches were recently classified as a world surfing reserve, protecting the future of the city’s iconic breaks.
With the ability to host one of the largest multi-sport events in the world, the Gold Coast inevitably boasts a well-rounded portfolio of international-standard competition venues.
With the city’s sport mindedness, many of its premier competition venues are made available to professional teams for pre-event training camps and friendly competition matches.
Gold Coast has two multi-purpose stadiums, two flexible indoor sporting arenas, international standard aquatics centre with diving facilities and three Olympic-standard athletics tracks.
There are also sport-specific venues for hockey, tennis, basketball, cricket, beach volleyball, gymnastics, lawn bowls and sailing.
The Australian Women’s Basketball team regularly uses the Gold Coast for its high-performance training camps.
“The most important thing for us is being able to get access to the best facilities,” said Tamara Sheppard, Australian Women’s Basketball Team Manager.
“Training on the Gold Coast we know we can get access to the best facilities so our team can focus on getting the job done.
“It is also important to keep our team happy and that’s something we know we can count on when we travel to the Gold Coast.”
The Gold Coast is racing up the ladder of the world’s top sporting cities.
Respected British company, Sport Business International, has recognised the success of the city honouring the Gold Coast as the Best Newcomer in its bi-annual Ultimate Sports Cities Rankings and Awards which considered submissions from 150 destinations around the world.
The Gold Coast had a meteoric rise up 39 places of the Sportcal Global Sports Index, ranking it as the 18th top sporting city in the world – auguring well for the city as it heads towards GC2018.
Head judge of the Ultimate Sports Cities Rankings, Rachael Church, was delighted to award the Gold Coast Best Newcomer.
“Using events such as GC2018 to develop new infrastructure and revitalise existing infrastructure, Australia’s Gold Coast is a city coming of age,” Church said.
Peak sporting bodies
Leading Australian sporting bodies have secured their future on the Gold Coast, investing in headquarters and elite training facilities for their codes.
Surfing Australia, Mountain Bike Australia, Baseball Australia, V8 Supercars and Triathlon Australia are among a growing number of organisation’s capitalising on the cities sporting excellence.
Olympian and CEO of Triathlon Australia, Miles Stewart, said the Gold Coast has everything any high performance athlete would want in terms of training facilities and lifestyle.
He said the Gold Coast’s accessibility to the rest of the country and international flying routes makes it a perfect destination for elite athletes to base themselves and host competitions.
“The climate is key – our athletes have the ability to climb (cycle or run) mountains just 15 minutes from the city where they can breathe clean air which is an enormous advantage,” he said
“In addition, we also have some of the best coaches in the country if not the world.”
Cutting-edge sport science
The Gold Coast is pushing for excellence and innovation in health and knowledge related sectors, with cutting-edge research in sports sciences and world-leading specialists in the fields of physiotherapy, physiology, psychology, biochemistry, biomechanics and strength and conditioning.
The city is home to three world-class universities – Bond, Griffith and Southern Cross – each a centre for sport excellence, offering state-of-the-art testing facilities and clinicians with extensive experience treating national, international and Olympic level athletes.
The Bond University Sport Research Centre is at the forefront of the industry undertaking Australia’s largest sports science research project and having established Australia’s first Doctor of Physiotherapy program.
Griffith University’s Sport and Exercise Science Research Laboratories include state-of-the-art motion analysis and performance testing equipment. Professors from Griffith University’s Menzies Health Institute Queensland are undertaking research in a range of areas including injury prevention strategies.
The city is also home to an Altitude Training Centre that works with coaches and athletes in the areas of Intermittent Hypoxic Training (IHT) for sports performance and rehabilitation.
The city has become a hub for cutting-edge sport businesses; from manufacturers of high-performance sporting apparel, equipment and nutritional products to experts in sports coaching and management.
James Mortimer, Digital Market and Communications Director at BLK global apparel company, says the Gold Coast has an inherently entrepreneurial culture which is strongly evident across the sport industry.
“Innovation is critical to the city’s sport identity,” said Mortimer.
“The depth of knowledge fostered by elite athletes, universities, world-leading coaching and medical staff, event management experts and sport minded local government provide the platform and desire to be the best in the world.”
It is a classic example of industry co-location, providing city-specific opportunities for the industry to collaborate, innovate and grow.
It’s a city where:
- leading sport academics partner with professional athletes to research, design and manufacture leading high-performance sport apparel;
- universities partner with commercial enterprises to secure grants to research environmentally friendly garment materials;
- junior athletes directly access and partner with world-leading sporting apparel brands;
- a company founded on sport nutrition turns its talent into creating premium pressure garments for elite athletes;
- technology specialists partner with elite athletes to develop market-leading sport applications;
- a university partners with one of the largest sporting events in the world – GC2018.
The Gold Coast’s success in building a globally recognised sport city is testament to its forward-thinking attitude and bold attitude towards growth and development.
GC2018 is a catalyst for the city to galvanise and deliver once-in-a-generation, city-transforming legacy projects.
The development of the Commonwealth Games Village is one of the largest urban renewal projects undertaken on the Gold Coast and post GC2018, it will form the key residential, commercial and retail centre for the Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct.
The co-location of the Commonwealth Games Village with a world-leading teaching and research university, Gold Coast University Hospital and allied medical facilities is creating a knowledge hub that has capacity to attract internationally recognised researchers, clinicians and enterprises – once again boosting the city onto the world stage.
The economy is growing from a platform of tourism and construction to a diverse knowledge-based economic environment, with expertise in the sport, health and education sectors.
As a relatively young city in transformation, the best is yet to come.