Sunshine Coast Stadium crowds ready for NRL trial action.
Sunshine Coast Stadium crowds ready for NRL trial action. Patrick Woods

Stadium offer is a sizeable gift that shouldn't be ignored

OPINION:

YOU can't help but be encouraged by the words of prolific philanthropist Roy Thompson if you're a local sports lover.

He's signalled his intention to get cracking on a major Sunshine Coast Stadium redevelopment, saying he'll throw as much support behind it as he can.

From a bloke whose donations are in the tens of millions to various local causes, that's sounding like a significant commitment to make.

I couldn't think of a better position to be in as a local government than this.

READ: 'Let's do it': Big giver backs stadium development

You have a facility which, if upgraded, could take the region to a new level in terms of quality of sport and entertainment it can consistently attract, and a cashed-up, kind-hearted benefactor willing to get behind it.

Whatever needs to happen, should, to make this a reality.

The region has voted with its feet time and again.

NRL trial matches, proper-season games, and now the massive demand for tickets to Sir Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road tour show there is a real appetite for quality entertainment in the region.

The Southeast Queensland Council of Mayors' multi-city Olympic bid is beginning to gather momentum, with some critical decisions still to be made, but if so, the Coast would be squarely on the map as a destination if any such bid came to fruition.

The spotlight of an Olympic Games tends to fast-track infrastructure spend and many are seeing it as a potential magic bullet to solve our transport woes.

But why not capitalise on the momentum and use it to deliver upgrades to our top sporting venue at the same time?

I was among the thousands at Sunshine Coast Stadium in April when the Rabbitohs took on the Warriors.

It was a cracking day.

It showed there is real support for NRL on the Coast, more than maybe previously realised.

The Storm connection has helped transform the fortunes of the Sunshine Coast Falcons, and long may that continue.

But it'd be lovely to one day boast our own NRL side, and the pathways that would create would be enormous.

But what will also help our cause is if we continue to push that critical mass argument.

The more of us that can get to regular Falcons home games the better.

As a community we need to keep hammering home the message that we will frequent our major facilities, so the more numbers the better.

We already know the appetite is there for the significant, one-off events.

The challenge is to show there is the regular, sustained desire, as there would have to be if we were to ever sustain our own NRL, A-League or Super Rugby team.

And in the meantime, let's hope the powers that be don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

Not every region is lucky enough to have the likes of Roy and Nola Thompson actively looking to improve the community, with the financial resources they have.



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