Mega-projects and mega-events: evaluating Vancouver 2010 stadium and convention infrastructure

Robert Sroka*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper evaluates two infrastructure mega-projects connected to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver’s downtown peninsula: the renovation of BC Place Stadium and the Vancouver Convention Centre expansion. These projects correspond to two categories of mega-projects often constructed alongside sporting mega-events with intended tourism development legacies that have a history of financial underperformance. Touching upon literatures concerning mega-events, event leveraging, urban development, as well as the public finance of sport and convention venues, this work focuses on fiscal impacts and opportunity costs for venue site locations where there are already high property values, with the aim of providing lessons for comparable future mega-event hosts contemplating similar event-related mega-projects. In addition to arguing for the alignment of venue design to efficiently maximize long-term operating returns and event portfolios for tourism development, this article highlights that venue location within a host city shapes the opportunity costs for government investors and that cost overruns to meet a fixed event deadline can undermine what may other be a sustainable financial structure. While a mega-event-related stadium or convention centre is at significant risk of becoming a financial loser when considering both capital and operating costs, as well as a sub-optimal platform for maximising an event portfolio, this does not have to be the case. Beyond more traditional measures of project return, this article highlights and further develops another key measure of evaluating financial and revenue outcomes, which can be summed up as the opportunity cost of alternative land uses on a venue site.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-200
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Sport and Tourism
Volume25
Issue number3
Early online date1 Feb 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2021

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