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Partnership with the Games

Find out how Griffith University partnered with the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. Watch this video as the Vice Chancellor explains.

In the video you heard how Griffith University’s partnership with the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games provided a unique opportunity for the university to engage with the local community, provide internships for students and staff to work together with event organisers and gain valuable experience, and further the research done around major sport events.

Let’s find out more about how and why partnerships are formed in sport and the role a university can play.

Sport events and partnerships

To deliver a major sports event, many stakeholders need to work together to bring the right mix of expertise and resources. This is done these days by forming partnerships which are more collaborative, dynamic and sophisticated than the traditional mode of sports sponsorship (where a company pays an event committee for advertising rights) which we are seeing a shift away from.

While there is often still money paid to secure the partnership, the focus of the partnership is on achieving greater value together than could normally be achieved by acting alone1, and working towards meeting both partners’ individual and mutual objectives.

Griffith’s partnership

In our case, partnering with the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games:

  • Griffith University provided staff and students to contribute and help achieve event outcomes, and

  • The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) – the event organisers, provided access to opportunities which contributed to the University’s objectives.

Universities connecting with the community

An important reason to form such a partnership is to engage with and provide services to the local community. We now see universities worldwide seeking to engage with their communities as it also serves to build the university’s brand which is important in a competitive global marketplace2.

Because of the central role universities already play in communities, they are uniquely placed to partner with a major sports event. This allows them to be involved to help maximise the benefits and legacies that can be built for the community hosting the event.

Presenting partner of the GC2018 Marathon

An example of this is Griffith University’s decision to be the presenting partner of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Marathon. This free event provided access for the whole community to be spectators and enjoy an engaging experience at a major sports event. This contributes to and promotes inclusion for the community.

Vice-Chancellor and President of Griffith University, Professor Ian O’Connor has said:

“As presenting partner of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Marathon, a genuine community event, Griffith University is demonstrating its commitment to the Gold Coast community.”3

Read more about being a presenting partner of the marathon and also watch this video.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Unexpected opportunities from partnerships: GAPS Programme

Another benefit of partnerships, is that often opportunities present themselves which may not have been expected at the start. If these are acted upon, they can bring added value to the overall partnership1.

For Griffith University, we’ve seen this through a programme which was dreamed up before the announcement of the partnership. This programme, which we will look at in detail in week 2, is called the GAPS (Gather, Adjust, Prepare and Sustain) Programme.

It is designed to train, support and provide resources to elite athletes and para athletes from developing countries in the Oceania region. It is supported by funding from the Commonwealth Games Federation and the City of Gold Coast. With a focus on contributing to equity and inclusion, it turned out that the programme aligned well with the University’s commitment to these ideals and with the partnership formed with the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Watch this video to find out how partnership has worked to create the GAPS Programme.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Your task

Do you know of any other partnerships with major sport events that have benefited groups in the community by either providing opportunities to learn and build new skills or contributing to the community in other ways?

Let us know in the comments below.


  1. Warner M, Sullivan R, editors. Putting Partnerships to Work: Strategic Alliances for Development Between Government, the Private Sector and Civil Society. 1st ed. ebook. London: Routledge; 2017. Available from:

  2. Kennelly M, Corbett H, Toohey K. Leveraging ambitions and barriers: Glasgow universities and the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Marketing Intelligence & Planning. 2017 August 13; 35(6):822-838. Available from:

  3. Scene Set for Spectacular GC2018 Marathon, Griffith News, 25 September, 2017. Available from:

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