Hit­ting the boards in US for big ideas

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - ROHAN O’NEIL

FIRE gen­eral man­ager Richard Good­body will scour the world’s premier women’s sport­ing com­pe­ti­tion for ideas to bring back to im­prove the Townsville WNBL club as he heads to the US to visit the Phoenix Mer­cury.

Good­body and Mel­bourne Boomers gen­eral man­ager Justin Nel­son yesterday flew out to spend a week with the WNBA ti­tle­hold­ers.

The Townsville boss was ex­cited at the chance to learn from his Amer­i­can coun­ter­parts and see how Fire star Cayla Ge­orge is far­ing in her de­but sea­son in the WNBA.

The Fire were the WNBL’s bench­mark fran­chise last year with their maiden cham­pi­onship com­ing in front of a packed Townsville RSL Sta­dium and on the back of the best sea­son in their 14- year history.

Townsville ranked num­ber one in the league for tele­vi­sion au­di­ences, at­ten­dances and mem­ber­ship, and Good- body said his US trip was about en­sur­ing the club didn’t rest on its lau­rels.

“The trend of where we are go­ing is up­wards but we don’t want to just tread wa­ter, we want it to be big­ger and bet­ter for this com­ing sea­son and ev­ery sea­son af­ter that,” he said.

“Amer­i­can sports do fan en­gage­ment bet­ter than any­one, so to be able to see how they in­ter­act with their fans in the lead- up to match days and dur­ing the match is stuff we can con­cep­tu­alise when we see it and d t try to bring it back here.”

Good­body and Nel­son will be on hand to watch Ge­orge and Syd­ney Uni Flames star Leilani Mitchell in the Mer­cury’s home matches against the Seat­tle Storm and At­lanta Dream.

“Justin had done some ini­tial work with Phoenix with ( Boomers player) Tess Mad­gen be­ing over there and it’s a great chance for us to be able to learn from the best of the busi­ness,” Good­body said.

“I think they are the premier women’s sport­ing club in any code in the world at the mo­ment, so it’s a great op­por­tu­nity to be able to learn from what they do.

“The Mer­cury have in­di­cated that their front of­fice will be as open and ac­ces­si­ble as pos­si­ble, and I’m hop­ing there are a num­ber of ini­tia­tives that can be im­ple­mented at the Fire.”

ON TOUR: Townsville Fire gen­eral man­ager Richard Good­body has left for a factfind­ing mis­sion in the US and will catch up with Fire’s cham­pi­onship- win­ning for­ward Cayla Ge­orge ( right), who is play­ing with the

Phoenix Mer­cury.

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