Annals of the Association of Economic Geographers
Online ISSN : 2424-1636
Print ISSN : 0004-5683
ISSN-L : 0004-5683
Special Issue Articles
Challenges to the Regeneration of Olympic Legacies:
Case Studies of the Olympic Stadiums in Montreal and Sydney
Isao OKADA
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2020 Volume 66 Issue 1 Pages 73-89

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Abstract

    In recent years, hosting the Olympic Games has become very costly. Significant maintenance and operating costs for publicly-owned large Olympic venues continue to burden host cities and states long after the spectacular Olympic weeks come to an end. Summer Olympics stadiums, normally built to seat over 70,000 people, are particularly at risk of becoming white elephants. That is because the number of potential sports or cultural events which can fully fill an Olympic stadium with spectators are limited, and because maintenance, repair and operating costs snowball into an extraordinary amount of money. However, Montreal (the host city of the 1976 Summer Games) and Sydney (the host city of the 2000 Summer Games) have tried to revitalize the city through big reinvestment in Olympic stadiums in recent years—I call it “regeneration of the Olympic legacy.” For example, in Montreal, inside the inclined observatory tower attached to the Olympic Stadium, the office of the financial institution “Desjardins” with more than 1,000 employees was created and became an anchor tenant in 2018. In Sydney, the New South Wales government bought back the ownership of ANZ Stadium (the Olympic stadium) from a private company to make it into a public facility in July 2016, 15 years ahead of the original schedule. Further, the government planned to convert ANZ Stadium to a modern rectangular stadium with a retractable roof, and to construct two new rail services: a metro line and a light rail transit line. When analyzing the backgrounds and reasons for new reinvestment in Olympic stadiums by both cities, we can find four common points. Firstly, both Olympic stadiums are located in the Olympic park near the center of the city and have good transportation access. Secondly, both Olympic stadiums have constantly had good repair work, operation and equipment upgrades by the owner. Thirdly, both Olympic stadiums have no actual existing nearby competitive large-capacity venues. Finally, both Olympic stadiums have suffered from a chronic deficit or are presumed to run into financial trouble in the near future.

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