Lismore promotes rugby match

THE town of Lismore is set to reap the benefits of a courageous, or foolhardy, Lismore City Council who would not admit defeat despite losing as much as $168,000 during last September’s Festival of Cricket.

Lismore City Council is the promoter for tonight’s NSW Waratahs versus Queensland Reds rugby union match and if a crowd of at least 2000 does not pass through the gates the council could be looking down the barrel of another loss.

However, thousands of rugby fans are expected to hit town with many expected to stay overnight, and it could prove a boon to local businesses.

NSW Tourism prescribes to an average figure of $140 per head; that is for every person who comes to your town for a night $140 is injected into the local economy.

The September Festival of Cricket saw NSW, Victoria and Tasmania play a series of Twenty20 and one day matches over nine days.

It was hoped the event would produce a small profit for council, or at least break even, but the crowds stayed away leaving council with a towering bill.

However, council events co-ordinator John Bancroft believes the rugby match is worth the risk of council underwriting another sporting event.

“Being a promoter rather than just a venue provider gives us a greater opportunity to make money,” he said.

“We are working on a similar business model (to the cricket carnival) but in this case there is far less risk.”

Because the rugby is only a one-day event – compared with the nine-day cricket carnival – organisers can make far more accurate projections as to costs and receipts.

“We are able to monitor ticket sales and get a feel for crowd numbers,” Mr Bancroft said.

“That enables us to cater for the numbers more efficiently than if we were counting on people to turn up over a nine-day period.”

Lismore City Council will retain all the gate income – after Ticketek takes its cut – and use those dollars to pay for the hard logistics of the event such as rubbish removal and ground preparation.

Mr Bancroft sets a break-even point at about 2000 attendees, with the grandstand (1200) already sold out.

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