Commonwealth 2014 and Glasgow Businesses: The Long Term Benefits
It’s the second large sporting event to take place on British soil in the last four years and Glasgow businesses have already taken a fair share of benefits from the sporting prestige. The sporting legacy of the Olympic games has left many opportunities in its wake for London. Will the commonwealth games have the same effect on Glasgow?
When the London Olympics ended in 2012, the athlete’s village was converted from accommodation for 30,000 athletes into 2000 homes for local social landlords and private rent. This transformation generated a large amount of business for local tradesmen, property developers and property based businesses. The hope is that a similar project will take place in Glasgow to provide quality housing and source of trade for local businesses. Developments such as this often spur the creation of retail developments, as seen with the Westfield shopping centre on the Stratford site, now Europe’s biggest shopping centre.
The sheer number of people arriving in London for the Olympics promoted a massive surge in London tourism, with many taking advantage of the games to take in the historic city. Earlier this year London was named the most popular tourist destination in the world. Whether this surge in popularity is entirely to do with Olympic legacy is another question, but the games obviously contributed a great deal.
Glasgow is also a city rich in culture and history having once been a key Roman outpost and a huge contributing factor in the industrial revolution. Glasgow also has a thriving nightlife and a laundry list of interesting museums celebrating the rich cultural heritage of Scotland that many around the commonwealth may be unaware of. Equally some large commonwealth countries can trace their ancestry directly back to Scotland and Glasgow, another pull for tourism in Glasgow. The numbers do seem to speak for themselves, with 175,000 rooms booked in the city and an expectation for 95% of Glasgow accommodation to be full for the duration of the games.
In 2012, the 2014 commonwealth organisers opened a velodrome and arena in the East of the City that will house the badminton competition and cycling events. The velodrome was named after 6 time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy and is already having a huge effect on local sporting organisations. The commonwealth arena is the new home to the Glasgow Rocks basketball team and has a 200m indoor running track that is hydraulically lifted, soon to play host to the Sainsbury’s international match.
With so much happening before the games have even began, the long term legacy of the Commonwealth games on Glasgow’s sporting community should become more apparent. When the Olympics finished in London, the number of cyclists in the city (and nationwide) started to increase. General interest in sports and participation in non-football based sports has gone up nationwide and the expectation is that the Commonwealth games will spur Scotland to follow the same trend.
The arrival of the games has also prompted the construction of other sports facilities, including a hockey centre, a hydro arena and an Athletes village for accommodation, some of which will be taken down at the end of the games but others that will stay for communities in Glasgow to use.
Large sporting events are often about legacy and tradition, and the imprint of a sporting event as large as the commonwealth games can last for decades. Though it may be too late to be directly involved in the games, it might not be too late to for businesses in Glasgow and Scotland to embrace the opportunities that the games present in the long term. The games begin on Wednesday 23rd of July, with the opening ceremony beginning at 8pm.