Cricket partnership a top edge for Sunshine Coast
  • Monday 05 September 2016

Local cricket fans aren’t the only ones who’ll benefit from the new partnership between Sunshine Coast Council and Cricket Australia.

Mayor Mark Jamieson said the agreement also had the potential to put plenty of long-term runs on the board for the region’s economy and strengthen our reputation as Australia’s major events regional capital.

“Tourism, sport and leisure is one of seven high-value industries in the Sunshine Coast Regional Economic Development Strategy and we regularly host national and international sporting events and teams that are drawn here by our high quality facilities, our favourable climate and our local expertise,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“In 2016 the World is Coming to the Sunshine Coast as we play host to an unprecedented 60 major sporting and lifestyle events, including the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships that were held yesterday – the first time this event has been staged in the Southern Hemisphere.

“We’re a destination of choice for AFL teams and the Wallabies to base themselves for training camps and the Commonwealth Games associations of Wales and the Isle of Man have also chosen to base hundreds of their athletes here in the lead up to the 2018 Games on the Gold Coast.

“So it’s extremely exciting to announce a new partnership with Cricket Australia that adds to the diversity and depth of events we’re attracting to the Coast.

“This will open up even more opportunities for our community, including businesses and tourism operators and of course local cricketers and our sports-loving community. 

“The Brisbane Heat is the eighth largest sporting brand on Australian social media with well over half a million followers across Facebook and Twitter alone. So having them come to the Sunshine Coast for a Big Bash pre-season camp and two practice matches against the Hobart Hurricanes, who also have more than 400,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter, will provide enormous potential exposure for our region.

“Both teams include a list of international stars who also enjoy huge social media followings. I’m sure our local community will jump at the chance to see them up close and personal.

“The Heat have big hitting New Zealander Brendon McCullum and the top ranked T20 bowler in the world, West Indian Samuel Badree.

“Big hitting Queenslanders Chris Lynn, Joe Burns and Ben Cutting will also be part of the Heat side, while the Hurricanes have recently signed English star Stuart Broad and will again have Sri Lankan superstar Kumar Sangakara along with Australian representatives George Bailey and Tim Paine.

“The two practice matches on December 16 and 17 at Elizabeth Daniels Park will be free for spectators to come and watch and spectators at these games will be treated to an entertainment experience similar to what they see at BBL games.

“Our aspiring young cricketers will be able to watch some of the best in the world in their own backyard and I would also expect these games to attract plenty of visitors here from outside the Sunshine Coast as well.

“Hosting the National Under 17 Cricket Championships later this month and again in 2017 will also provide fantastic direct benefits to local businesses, especially accommodation providers.

“The tournament will bring 10 teams to the Sunshine Coast from around Australia, including players, officials and parents who’ll all be staying here for at least four nights and taking home some fantastic memories of their time here.

“As part of this partnership, council will invest in facility upgrades at Elizabeth Daniels Sports Complex and Landsborough Cricket Club, where the National Championships will be played.”

Oaks Seaforth Resort Building Manager Nathan Hunter said accommodating six teams participating in the National Under 17 Championships later this month would provide a welcome boost.

“We’re very excited to be hosting a number of teams who’ll be coming to us from all corners of the country and aside from the immediate business benefits, it’s an opportunity for Oaks Seaforth Resort to build our reputation interstate,” Mr Hunter said.

"Major events and opportunities like this and the guests they bring to the Sunshine Coast are fantastic for us and I’m sure for many other local businesses.”

Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Simon Latchford said securing hosting rights for the National Under 17 Cricket Championships for the next two years and the Brisbane Heat practice matches highlighted tghe Sunshine Coast’s position and drive to be the meetings and events capital of regional Australia.

“This commitment and focus on the hugely popular sport of cricket is fantastic to see and will not only benefit local cricket fans but will attract new interstate and intrastate audiences to the Sunshine Coast,” Mr Latchford said.

“Sport is a perfect fit with our brand position Naturally Refreshing and is a great way to promote the region. It provides another reason to visit which flows to tourism businesses and injects extra dollars into the Sunshine Coast region.

“We look forward to welcoming a surge in visitors – players, families and fans associated with cricket and there’s no doubt this will have a positive impact for our tourism industry.”