THE Griffith sporting community should be “excited” after council signed off on a deal that promises to bring more sporting events to the city, tourism manager Greg Lawrence believes.
On Tuesday night, council agreed to allocate up to $30,000 to fund a report that will kick off a partnership with Sports Marketing Australia (SMA), a group which operates with more than 30 councils across the country in moving events from big cities to suitable regional areas.
Councillors were initially divided over the deal but signed on after a presentation by SMA’s national business development manager, Trevor McGaw, at Tuesday night’s council meeting.
It means SMA will likely begin the “Capacity and Capability Assessment” report in November, which will specify what sort of events Griffith is able to host.
Once the report is completed, it is anticipated SMA and the council will enter into a three-year contract.
Lawrence said he was “delighted” council endorsed the opportunity, also noting SMA has ties with the music and arts industries and could also bring events such as Nitro Circus to the city.
“This is going to have some great ramifications for all sporting codes and also for our city, the ratepayers and business holders as well,” he said.
“That means we can get into it straight away. Once the report’s done, we can get into it straight away and going forward from there, we’ll be offered some opportunities.
“I can see some great opportunities so it’s now up to SMA to deliver, and we’ll be holding them to account.
“I intend to drive SMA quite hard and I’ll be like a dog with a bone.”
McGaw faced rigorous questioning from councillors over the true cost of the SMA partnership, but maintained council will have the right to accept or reject any event proposed by the company at its sole discretion.
Should council – or any Griffith sporting body – agree to stage an event offered by SMA, the company will charge fees starting from $2200 plus GST. The fees are based on the number of participants in each events, and any free-to-air or pay TV coverage generated by them.
“We have to make sure whatever we put up to council is vetted, and I have spoken to several of my counterparts in Wagga to make sure that what these people say they’ll do, that they’ve delivered,” Lawrence said.
“The only way you know the real answers is by asking the questions.”
SMA was the body responsible for bringing the successful Football NSW Under 13 State Titles to Griffith earlier this year. Griffith City Sports Council president Lou Testoni described the SMA deal as “a step in the right direction for everyone”.
“It gives the city a lot more ownership over sport and it should bring the sporting and business communities closer together,” he said. “This exercise has the potential to bring so much money into the community.”