Stadium whingers miss mark
Mick Murray, the Minister for Sport, is 100 per cent correct. People upset that the NRL will open its season at the new Perth Stadium two weeks ahead of the AFL need to get over it.
What a ridiculous thing to get upset about.
What a particularly pathetic whinge.
WA taxpayers have spent $1.4 billion building the sporting and entertainment palace on the banks of the Swan River.
Soon enough we’ll all be able to judge whether the expense was worth it.
Dozens of economic studies on sporting venues all over the world show they struggle to justify their existence on purely commercial terms.
Perhaps the best argument in their favour is they act as markers for a city’s reputation, with TV time dedicated to events amounting to free publicity for a destination.
News flash: Eagles and Dockers fans are going to go to this stadium anyway (and that is true whether it has a corporate name).
The challenge to making the whole thing pay is to use it as often as possible, and to attract as many eyeballs as possible.
To that end, the Government and its stadium manager should be pulling out all the stops — and they are.
Having popular NRL clubs South Sydney Rabbitohs and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs host a season-opening rugby league double-header here in Perth is a masterstroke.
That the NRL “beats” the AFL to the punch is no more than an accident of each league’s fixturing.
Three-plus hours of uninterrupted TV coverage into Australia’s biggest city (and maybe Melbourne and Brisbane, too, depending on who the scheduled opponents are), plus the prospect that a few thousand fans might jump on a plane, head west, fill a hotel room and buy a meal or three.
And some people are upset by this?