Queensland Cricket CEO Terry Svenson at Harrup Park.
Queensland Cricket CEO Terry Svenson at Harrup Park.

Heat confirm WBBL return to Mackay for next two years

THE good news keeps on coming for Mackay Whitsunday cricket fans with confirmation the Brisbane Heat will return to host WBBL home games at Great Barrier Reef Arena for the next two seasons.

The Heat and Mackay Regional Council today confirmed a three-year agreement to promote Mackay and the neighbouring Whitsunday region, which includes a sponsorship rights deal on the sleeve of Heat playing kits, targeted digital assets from the club’s marketing team and home games in Mackay in 2021 and 2022.

The announcement comes after the long-awaited $24 million Great Barrier Reef Arena project received the $10 million State Government funding commitment necessary to begin construction early next year.

The arena is expected to be one of the nation’s premiere boutique sporting venues, capable of hosting Big Bash, Women’s Big Bash, AFL, AFLW and international cricket formats.

Queensland Cricket CEO Terry Svenson said the partnership with Mackay Regional Council, Harrup Park and Mackay Cricket Association would “achieve some wonderful results” for Mackay.

“We are pleased to be able to assist with the region’s economic recovery and we were delighted to see the recent funding commitment of $10 million by the Queensland Government to enable the construction of the $24 million Great Barrier Reef Arena at Harrup Park from next year,” he said.

Read more:

$24 million Great Barrier Reef Arena project timeline

Aussie cricket superstar Beth Mooney welcomes Great Barrier Reef Arena upgrades

Charli Knott of the Heat poses with fans at the end of the Women's Big Bash League match between the Adelaide Strikers and Brisbane Heat at Harrup Park on November 02, 2019 in Mackay, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
Charli Knott of the Heat poses with fans at the end of the Women's Big Bash League match between the Adelaide Strikers and Brisbane Heat at Harrup Park on November 02, 2019 in Mackay, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

The WBBL Heat have played six matches in Mackay since 2018. The crowd of 5650 which attended Brisbane’s match against Adelaide in January 2019 remains a stand-alone game record attendance for the Heat.

“The reception the WBBL Heat receive every time they play there is outstanding and we are enthusiastic about being a part of some very exciting plans for the region in the next few years,” Svenson said.

Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson said fans had voted with bums on seats in recent years and he expected that support to continue when the Heat return to Mackay next year.

“We’re proud to be a part of bringing top-class women’s cricket to Mackay and sports fans, particularly families, have really responded to these events in previous years,” Cr Williamson said.

“Thanks to this deal we look forward to hosting similar events in the near future. I’m sure the Mackay community will be behind these events once again.”

Harrup Park CEO Matt Cielens welcomed the strengthening of ties between the Heat and Mackay.

“We’re very pleased at the prospect of continuing our relationship with the Heat and working alongside Mackay Regional Council to deliver important exposure for the city and region,” Cielens said.

“We’re looking forward to delivering a world-class venue in the form of the Great Barrier Reef Arena for the team and (its) fans.”

The WBBL Heat squad will travel to Sydney next week ahead of the opening match of the season against the Perth Scorchers on Sunday, October 25.

Mackay product Charli Knott has again been included in the 15-player squad.

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