NRL trial match between Melbourne Storm and Wests Tigers at the Sunshine Coast Stadium in 2016. Sunshine Coast Council says its deal to bring the Rabbitohs to the stadium for three premiership games over the next three years would come at no net cost.
NRL trial match between Melbourne Storm and Wests Tigers at the Sunshine Coast Stadium in 2016. Sunshine Coast Council says its deal to bring the Rabbitohs to the stadium for three premiership games over the next three years would come at no net cost. Che Chapman

The $2m a year NRL deal with no net costs

SUNSHINE Coast Council says its modelling has shown "there should be no net cost to council" involved in luring a trial game between North Queensland and the Titans to the region in February and three South Sydney Rabbitohs National Rugby League competition games over the next three years from 2019.

It has cited an annual economic benefit of $2 million for each of the three Rabbitohs games as assessed by the Sunshine Coast Events Board.

But in a response provided by a council spokesman it failed to address the actual financial commitment required to bring either the trial or the competition games to the region.

"Council modelling shows there should be no net cost to council for either the trial game between the Cowboys and Titans or the three-year deal with the Rabbitohs," the spokesman said.

"The economic benefit of the three-year deal with the Rabbitohs has been assessed by the Sunshine Coast Events Board as being at least $2 million per annum and the proposal was recommended by the SCEB to proceed."

Rugby league sources familiar with the cost said it would require $300,000 plus to bring a top tier team to a regional centre for competition games.

The NRL is taking games to Bathurst, Wagga Wagga and Mudgee in 2019 as well as the Sunshine Coast where the Warriors and the Rabbitohs clash on April 13.

Wagga Wagga has also cited an expected $2 million economic benefit from its May 4, Round 8 match between the Raiders and the Panthers.

McDonalds Park, Wagga Wagga, has a 10,000 person capacity while Sunshine Coast Stadium caters for 12,000.

The NSW State Government supports the NSW games through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.

It has a focus on marketing and driving tourism to the regional centres.

The Sunshine Coast Daily sought information from the council about what the cash and in-kind components of the deal were and what returns allowed it to reach a "no net cost" outcome.

"The attraction of these games is a competitive process and as such the details are commercial in confidence," the council spokesman said.

"The disclosure of such information would place the Sunshine Coast at a disadvantage in successfully competing against other regions.

"It is expected that the revenue generated from ticket sales, food and beverage will offset the costs associated with the game resulting in no net cost to council.

"With economic benefits forecast to exceed $2 million per annum, regional visitation, significant media coverage and community benefits, including open training sessions, the games represent tremendous value for the Sunshine Coast."


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