GRIFFITH’S key sporting stakeholders will hear a proposal tonight from a sports marketing group that could put an end to the city’s inability to attract major events.
Sports Marketing Australia (SMA), an organisation that links state and national associations with regional centres to facilitate the “decentralisation” of sporting events, will front the special meeting of the Griffith City Sports Council.
Managing director Rick Sleeman intends to convince Griffith’s sporting powerbrokers of the benefits of a partnership with SMA.
At the centre of the plan is a “Capacity and Capability Assessment”, a document which will strategically analyse what facilities and infrastructure the city currently has, and what events it could successfully host.
The meeting comes just a few weeks after Group 20 rugby league officials were told by NRL chief executive David Smith that Griffith would miss out on top-line matches in future due to a dearth of adequate facilities.
Sleeman told The Area News he could see enormous potential in Griffith.
“We wouldnt be talking to Griffith if we didn’t think it has the wherewithal,” he said.
“We’d be talking to someone else. It’s important for us if we’re going to attach our brand to a particular region that outcomes have to be forthcoming, because if they’re not, it makes us look bad.
“We’ve done a lot of careful research, spoken with the state bodies, and we want another partner in southern NSW. Griffith just came up trumps.”
Sleeman – the former director of rugby for international sports management conglomerate IMG – assisted with the recent Football NSW under 13 State Titles, which were held at Ted Scobie Oval and attracted hundreds of participants and their families to the city.
He said there was “big business” in sports tourism for regional areas.
“It’s about the ability to bring people to a region they wouldn’t otherwise come to for any other reason,” Sleeman said.
“There’s branding benefits – when you think of Bathurst, you think of the V8s, for instance.
“We’ve got 32 councils we’re engaged by to build sport as an industry for that region.
“Our bread and butter events are those age group and masters events that might not have thousands of spectators, but they do have hundreds of competitions.
“That’s where the bulk of it comes from – the competitiors and their accompanying partners that will come along.
“We have the relationships in the marketplace to go to the senior decision makers and credibly put forward the case for Griffith.
“We’ve got 13 representatives in metropolitan centres with daily interaction with those decision makers.”
Griffith City Sports Council president Lou Testoni said he expected the meeting to serve as a projection to see where sport in Griffith is truly headed.
“This is a timely opportunity given some of the recent comments made about facilities in our region not being up to scratch to hold particular major events,” Mr Testoni said.
“Everybody talks about getting major events here, but there are always hurdles to jump. This should put it in perspective.
“We have a number of events already but there are others that could be coming this way and we need to know what’s stopping us.”