An umpteen number of articles, headlines and columns have been written about the organizational inefficiencies and corruption controversies that boldly mark the past and present of Commonwealth Games-India 2010. The opinion that the enormous expenditure related to the organization of Commonwealth Games is anti-poor and unwarranted is totally valid. However, there is no denying the fact that the Commonwealth Games are the world’s third largest multi sporting event and few doubt the global impact and opportunity for development that they offer. Now that India is closing in fast towards the completion of this tremendous challenge it undertook a few years ago, it is imperative that we look at the economic benefits that the games offer.
The CWG is going to be the first major sporting event to be held in the capital city since The Asian Games in 1982. A lot has changed; India is aiming to become an economic superpower and the games are seen as a perfect opportunity to break out on the world stage. The major challenge is to ensure that the potential of CWG as a catalyst for change is harnessed. Be it Barcelona hosting the 1992 Olympic Games or CWG 2002 in Manchester, history has numerous instances where whole cities have been revived due to the change brought about by the games after long periods of low growth and degradation. On a similar note Delhi wishes to stimulate economic growth and improve city infrastructure through CWG 2010.
The development work relating to CWG 2010 Delhi can be broadly classified as:
New stadiums and renovation of existing stadiums
The construction and up gradation of sports facilities is central to CWG 2010. A games village planned at an estimated expenditure of INR 955 crores is aimed at boosting public sports infrastructure. The govt. plans to handover this village to the Delhi University for usage as hostels in future. This in turn would be great news to education infrastructure in the city. Another INR 1250 crores is to be spent on the extensive renovation of existing sport facilities which would be instrumental in putting these otherwise under-utilized facilities to use.
Hospitality is another area that will benefit greatly from the influx of about 8000 athletes and thousands of other foreign tourists. The exponential increase in demand for hospitality services will spell money for the players in this sector. The demand for hotel rooms is estimated to be 30,000 during the games. DDA has planned to auction about 20 sites for new world class hotels. This would raise hundreds of crores for the DDA and would boost Delhi’s capacity to handle inflow of people just a like a world class city should do.
It is Delhi govt.’s foremost aim to develop an effective mass transport system and solve the massive congestion problems that the city has been facing over the past years. The emphasis has only increased with the games being organized in the city. We have already seen the development of the grand Terminal 3 of the Delhi airport, which got a great impetus in teh speed of development from the CWG. It is now the 3rd biggest airport terminal in the world, with a capacity to handle more than a year domestically and internationally. A lot of other enormous plans are in the pipeline; flyovers, bypasses, broader roads, a larger metro system, a high capacity bus system etc. In fact, the transport sector has already been assigned 23.68% of the Tenth plan outlay which amounts to about INR 23,600 crores. Road and transport infrastructure define a city and all this activity in background of the CWG will keep the capital city alive and competitive on the global scale.
Business promotion for the Indian industry is a key agenda for the CWG Organising Committee. It has even partnered with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), to help it achieve this aim. In fact, talks are in progress with Australia, Scotland, South Africa and UK regarding the building of business collaborations in the Pharmaceutical and IT sector. Other sectors like medical tourism, food processing, energy and education also hold lot of promise. It’s estimated that about six to eight memoranda of understanding will be signed with these countries.
All this also spells good news for consulting firms as they get an opportunity to rope in several projects in event management. Some examples are the consulting firms of Mike Bushell (Sports Marketing and Management) and Craig McLatchey (Event Knowledge Services) that are involved in the event. A lot of Indian consultancies will also benefit as several opportunities are in the offing; for example, Air India sometime back was looking for a brand consultant to manage its image makeover during the CWG.
All in all, the Commonwealth Games, in spite of all the corruption and drama, have already contributed a lot to the development of the Indian industry and infrastructure. Now it just remains to be seen, whether they hold some positive news on the Indian sports front as well.