Ensuring Safety at Australian Sport Event Precincts: Creating Securitised, Sanitised and Stifling Spaces?
Since 9/11, pervasive concerns about public safety have irrevocably changed the management of large sport events and these events are now under constant pressure to improve security. This empirical research contextualises contemporary safety issues associated with sport event hosting and locates security debates within the Australian sport event landscape. Public safety considerations, policies and legislation are explored through in-depth interviews with ten sport venue managers. Content analysis of newspaper articles related to the topic was used to formulate questions used in the interviews. Results indicate safety-related processes and practices are firmly based in compliance-driven risk management. Media coverage portrays a general public acceptance of significantly increased security and surveillance with only a few isolated stories reporting that the changes have compromised human rights and/or the sport spectator experience. Current Australian approaches to safety and security are politically and institutionally derived, and largely devoid of community consultation.