League game won?t leave us with big bill
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
COFFS Harbour Sports Unit manager Ben Payne is adamant that the city won't be left to pay a large bill for hosting next year's City v Country Origin clash.
It was reported this week in Albury-Wodonga's Border Mail that Albury lost the rights to the match due to a dispute over $100,000 that needed to be paid to upgrade the lights at the Lavington Sports Ground.
But Payne was quick to point out yesterday that expenses such as extra lighting and corporate entertainment won't be borne by the local council.
"Channel 9 cover the broadcast and the CRL primarily cover the event," Payne said about the arrangement for the match.
"In Lismore last year, Channel 9 supplemented a couple of light towers and that's up to the broadcaster so they will do that again, not us.
"We'll sell the tickets but the CRL will get the gate because they'll pay for the accomodation for the players, the travel, the food, corporate entertainment, everything.
"It takes a lot of the risk out of it for us. We'll get a big gain with very little risk."
Payne said that basically the Sports Unit and their band of volunteers will mainly be required to put in a lot of man hours on top of some minimal costs.
"Our total outlay is things like corporate set-up, ground set-up, fencing, security, police, that sort of stuff," he said.
"The swingback for us is what we get out of the corporates, the food and beverage from the night and, of course, the income that comes into town with people coming in from outside of town during what is traditionally a very quiet time in Coffs Harbour.
"Again, it's low risk with a big upside. It's not why we went after the game it just happens to be the model that the CRL and Channel 9 use.
"It's a pretty rare opportunity as you don't often get a set-up like this. They normally ask for a lot but don't give you much. These guys are pretty much giving us most of it and only asking for a little bit."
The other big upside that Payne was quick to highlight is the amount of publicity that Coffs Harbour will gain from the event.
"It's obviously a national broadcast and you can't quantify it," he said. "If you want to try and break it down to build up again, what it means firstly is that it creates future event opportunities.
"Showcasing the venue as well as what can be put on in Coffs Harbour happens when the Wallabies are here. But when you're talking national and international broadcasts, people take us out of their 'it's just a small town' mentality and put us in the 'we can do a big show there' category.
"The other key thing is that both teams will be coming here for a week, we'll get to use them for multiple appearances and with the national media and other people that come here with them, it gives us extra exposure for Coffs."