UTS Library

Commonwealth Games Open Day


Victorian Government

PR Company: 

Melissa Horne, Department of Infrastructure

Award Category: 

Award Type: 

Call Number: 

2006 C11 - 7



Executive Summary: 

During the past five years, the Victorian Government has invested in the most ambitious infrastructure program ever seen in Victoria. This investment will create new jobs, reduce business costs and open up new opportunities for all Victorians.

Funding was allocated in late 2005 to implement the Building a World Class Victoria campaign targeting the general Victorian community. The aim of the campaign was to:

  • Inform Victorians about the Government’s infrastructure program and the benefits and opportunities it provides,
  • Generate pride and excitement around the projects,
  • Strengthen confidence in the Government’s finance and project management capabilities,
  • Strengthen industry confidence that the Government is providing the building blocks for a strong economy and investment opportunities for business.

Based on research carried out at the beginning of the campaign which showed a lack of understanding of major projects among Victorians, an Open Day was held to showcase these projects across Victoria.

With the Commonwealth Games being held in Melbourne in March 2006, it was an ideal opportunity to showcase the major projects underway or recently completed by opening major sporting venues built or upgraded for the Games across the metropolitan area to the public for the day.

The event drew a record crowd of 25,373 across four venues: Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), State Netball and Hockey Centre (SNHC), Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village and the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC). The day also achieved excellent media coverage.

Situation Analysis: 

On Sunday 11 December 2005, the Department of Infrastructure (DOI) hosted the Commonwealth Games Open Day. The event was the biggest free public open day ever held by a Victorian government department and formed part of the Victorian Government’s Building a World Class Victoria program. See Executive Summary for the aims of the program.

The venues had undergone considerable upgrades leading up to the Games and the Open Day event provided the first opportunity to showcase many of the venues to the public, engendering support and interest in the infrastructure upgrades and the upcoming Games.

The event also provided the opportunity to communicate to the target publics the lasting legacy of the infrastructure investment and demonstrate the governments’ plans going forward.

The new pedestrian bridge linking the MCG with the heart of the city, which was also built in time for the Commonwealth Games, was opened for a sneak preview on the day.

Family activities were the centrepiece of the day with entertainers and informative displays on each of the new or redeveloped facilities and a free bus shuttle service was provided to the public for travel between the venues.

Clinics were run for cricket, netball and hockey and visitors had the chance to win four tickets to the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.

Sporting heros were on hand to talk to the crowd about the Commonwealth Games and Karak, the Commonwealth Games mascot also made an appearance.

Public relations was required in the planning and delivery of this event to communicate key messages and help achieve the goals and objectives. Issues and safety management was also a critical consideration in staging this event.


In February 2005 market research was undertaken of attitudes of the general community and business sector towards major projects. Overall, it found a low awareness and understanding of major projects among Victorians and lack of communication by the government to the business community.

Based on this research it was decided that a public Open Day, utilising the upcoming  Commonwealth Games, would provide an ideal opportunity to communicate the government’s infrastructure investments and showcase the works completed, currently underway and planned for the future.

 A number of venues across Melbourne that were being upgraded or built for the Games were canvassed to gauge which generated the most interest with the public.

Research was also carried out to gauge whether it would be viable to open the venue to the public and logistically, how it would fit in with the overall goals and objectives for the day.

Target Policies: 

  • The primary publics targeted for the event were:
  • Regional Victorians
  • Local families
  • Media

Secondary publics targeted for the event were:

  • Internal staff and contractors
  • Melbourne 2006
  • Various construction companies
  • Office of the Commonwealth Games Coordination (OCGC)
  • Office of the Premier of Victoria
  • Parks Victoria
  • Melbourne City Council
  • Yarra Trams
  • Connex
  • Metlink

Refer Appendix A.1 for table outlining reasons targeted and their level of importance.

Communication Strategy: 

The strategy was based on increasing interest and excitement about the venues within the community in the lead up to the Games and communicating the Government’s investment in the lasting legacy these venues would have for all Victorians.

See Appendix A.8 for key messages.

The strategy included a number of elements:

1. Advertising campaign

A partnership arrangement with the Herald Sun provided three full page ads prior to the event and a four page feature on the day (see Appendix A.2 for the full colour ad). Advertising was placed in all Leader newspapers and regional press.

A radio advertisement was also developed and aired in the lead-up to the event. See Appendix A.14 for radio advertisement.

The event provided the opportunity to promote the use of public transport both on the day of the event and during the Commonwealth Games. The double page lift out in the Herald Sun – “Your guide to the Commonwealth Games Open Day” (see Appendix A.3 for this liftout) – listed all public transport options and the Sunday Saver Metcard ticket to assist with a seamless execution of the event and to ensure that the use of public transport was a positive experience for the commuters. See Appendix A.4 for advertising schedule.

2. Event competition

A competition was held to win four tickets to the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games. The entry forms were printed in the Herald Sun in the lead up to the event with entry only available at one of the four venues on the day See Appendix A.5 for a sample of the entry form

3. Collateral and displays

Collateral and displays of the major projects currently under construction were used at all venues to emphasise the infrastructure agenda(see Appendix A.6 for example of display at the MCG).

The Building One Victoria magazine was distributed at all venues on the day of the event. It contained information on the latest tenders, contracts and funding announcements as well as details about the Victorian Government’s current infrastructure projects and their progress. Staff were also on site to answer any questions about major projects and enquiries were logged for follow up.

A venue-specific display showcasing the work at each of the four venues ensured the attendees were aware of the work carried out for the Commonwealth Games and the benefits this work would have for the future (see Appendix A.6 for example of display).

4. Talent and activities

A number of sporting identities were in attendance at each venue to talk about what they thought of the infrastructure investments and how it would assist their Games campaign. The athletes were interviewed by a professional Master of Ceremonies for the crowd and were available for tours and autographs.

To promote the legacy of the Government’s investment it was essential to demonstrate the use of the works beyond the Games. The MCG and the SNHC held sporting clinics and children had the opportunity to participate in the activity of their choice and potentially join one of the sporting associations.

See Appendix A.7 for full list of athletes.


Stage One – Venue choice

The choice of venues to be opened on the day was based on a number of key issues:

  • Accessibility
  • Safety
  • Level of work being undertaken or completed
  • Level of interest within the community
  • Logistics associated with each venue in relation to public transport, activities, entertainment and display space and access to amenities
  • Level of public access prior to the day (that is, had the public seen it before?)

Stage Two – Venue planning

Once the venues had been chosen, planning at each venue included:

  • Site plans including access layout and audience flow
  • Security
  • Public amenities
  • Relevant entertainment and activities
  • Traffic Plans for surrounding roads and districts including necessary road closures
  • Transport Plan for public transport and free shuttle bus services between venues
  • Confirming attendance of athletes, the Premier and Ministers
  • Emergency Management Plan in collaboration with Emergency Services
  • Advertising and promotion
  • Development of collateral and display materials
  • Development of multimedia presentations to be used at the venues
  • Staffing at venues
  • Signage and branding
  • Media opportunities

Access to the chosen sites was made available in early November which allowed only five weeks to plan and deliver the event.

A comprehensive Event Plan including Traffic and Transport Plans and Emergency Plans was developed by DOI in collaboration with Victoria Police, VicRoads and other relevant stakeholders. This included extensive security on the day.

Briefing sessions for numerous staff, athletes and talent formed a large part of the planning and implementation stage.

Branding was developed in line with both the Commonwealth Games look and feel and the Building a World Class Victoria branding.

Stage Four – Venue preparation

The bump-in was completed overnight due to limited access prior to the event as a number of venues were still under construction.

This included the set up of:

  • Extensive signage including banners, flags, displays and directional signs
  • Temporary infrastructure including portable toilets, marquees, information booths, “welcome” structures, fencing, road barriers, catering vans, water fountains, staging
  • Audio visual equipment and sound systems.

Stage Five – Transport planning

Detailed planning of routes, accessibility, calculation of usage, communication between bus providers, drivers and managers, safety issues and controlled crowd flow allowed successful implementation of a free bus shuttle between all venues.

See Appendix C.1 for images from the event.


All objectives were met or exceeded except for objective 1.4 where only two regional newspapers ran stories on the event. (see Evaluation)

Additional results include:

  • Sporting clinics at each site were well attended with children teaming up with athletes in various activities
  • The traffic on the website in the lead up to the Open Day increased consistently relating directly to the increase in advertising at this time \
  • Most people visited the website on the day before the Open Day, with 70% of people visiting the website on that date looking at the Open Day webpage
  • All metro television stations attended the arranged Ministerial media event
  • The competition proved extremely popular with a total of 6,167 entries across the four venues
  • All shuttle buses were utilised across all venues.

See Appendix A.13 for website statistics table

See Appendix A.9 for letter of evaluation from Event Management Company contracted to assist with the event.

Refer Appendix A.10 – A.12 for media clippings following the event.


Primary objectives

A total of 25,373 people attended the Open Day across the four venues, well in excess of the 15,000 target.

Evaluation – 100 percent successful

Both the Herald Sun and The Age ran stories in their papers the following day. (See Appendix A.10)

Evaluation – 100 percent successful

Footage of the event was on Channel 7 and SKY 2 on the evening of the event (see Appendix A.11)

The event was also discussed on Radio station ABC 774 the day following the event.

Evaluation – 100 percent successful

Two regional newspapers ran stories on the Open Day the following day. (see Appendix A.12 for clippings) Although we did not meet the objective, the stories were positive and were featured in large regional areas.

Evaluation – 67 percent successful

Secondary objective

A total of 7,200 magazines were distributed across the four venues on the day of the event. Patrons also had the opportunity to subscribe to the BOV magazine on the day and we received 35 new subscribers.

Evaluation – 100 percent successful.