2010 Festival of Cricket go ahead

DESPITE losing $168,000 in the Festival of Cricket this year, Lismore City Council voted on Tuesday night to apply to host the event in 2010.

The huge financial loss was caused largely by poor ticket sales, due mainly to scheduling which saw the festival clash with several other local and national sporting events, such as the Masters Games, Lismore Race Day and the Far North Coast soccer grand final, and two days of dust storms.

The end result was that the city ‘had been taken for a ride’, according to Councillor Simon Clough.

Cr Clough was ‘very concerned’ about the loss and didn’t want to see it repeated.

“We could have taken a harder line on scheduling, and the contract meant that Lismore Council bore the majority of the costs,” he said.

Council had been ‘too generous to the organisers of this elite event, and it was too onerous a burden upon ratepayers’.

There were already plenty of sports activities in the area already, he said, and council needed to look at funding more community-based pastimes.

However, Cr Graham Meineke said the council needed to consider the wider publicity that the event brought to the city.

According to Cr Meineke, the event gave Lismore an international profile that ‘money couldn’t buy’.

Lismore was highlighted on several interstate websites and on television, including in live telecasts from the Indian Champions League which followed the festival, he said.

Council’s events coordinator John Bancroft, when asked if council could play a more active role in respect of costs, replied that it could look at contributions from the States and from sponsorship, and that shortening the number of days could help.

Cr Isaac Smith argued that the hard work had already been done for the event and that Lismore should learn from the mistakes of 2009 and go on.

A prestige event such as this gave Lismore exactly the kind of regional leader image it needed, he said. Following a review of the 2009 event, including market research, a bid to host the festival in 2010 will be made.

The Festival of Cricket included the representative NSW, Victoria and Tasmanian teams who played a number of Twenty20 and one-day fixtures at Oakes Oval.

NSW and Victoria used the event as a warm up for the inaugural Twenty20 Champions League Tournament in India which the Blues went on to win in style.

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