THE PLACE TO BE
TOWNSVILLE has cemented itself this year as the go-to destination for hosting major sporting events.
Featuring the best rugby teams in the southern hemisphere, Saturday’s blockbuster Rugby Championship double header at Queensland Country Bank Stadium was the icing on the cake for the city after hosting the State of Origin, Oceania Sevens Championship, Reds v Chiefs rugby, a Supercars double-header and a NRL finals double header.
A masked-up crowd of 23,184 poured through the gates to see New Zealand’s All Blacks clinch the Rugby Championship with a tense 19-17 victory over South Africa’s Springboks in the historic 100th Test before the Wallabies produced a commanding 27-8 win over Argentina’s Pumas. The thirsty crowd reportedly drank more than 40,000 beers and 4000 rums.
Despite this, a Townsville police spokesman said that revellers were well behaved in the busy CBD after the game with police not called to any major incidents.
Townsville Enterprise chief executive Claudia BrummeSmith described the games as “nothing short of spectacular and yet another showcase of Townsville’s ability to successfully host world class events”.
She said the stadium was packed as was accommodation across the city.
“Ticket sales suggest that more than 60 per cent of event-goers were visitors to the region, who across the weekend have injected millions of dollars into our local economy,” Ms BrummeSmith.
The event also was an opportunity to showcase Townsville to the world with about 45 million people tuning in to watch from all corners of the globe.
“Our track record with events like last night absolutely puts us in a strong position to work towards more major sporting events into the future,” she said.
“We are keen to see events like the Rugby 7s hosted here in Townsville.
“After seeing the support last night and the post-match interviews with the players, we certainly are supporting Australia’s Rugby World Cup application for 2027 and we want to be part of that event as well.”
Mayor Jenny Hill said the double-header had reinforced the city’s reputation as a key Australian events destination
“I didn’t think anything could top our hosting of State of Origin game 1 in June, but last night’s Rugby Championship double-header just might have,” Ms Hill said.
“Importantly, last night’s games between four of the best rugby union teams in the world, was broadcast across the globe providing a platform to promote our city and region to the world.” She hoped rugby fans watching around the world would be enticed to live, work or visit North Queensland once the border restrictions were lifted.
The event also provided a boon for local tourism and hospitality providers.
Townsville MP Scott Stewart said Saturday’s event proved we have the capability and the appetite for world class rugby. “We’ve proven this year we can host world class events in Townsville including international Rugby 7s. On the back of this I’ll continue pushing to get Olympic Rugby 7s to our stadium as well as any other Olympic sports like soccer.”
Regional economist Colin Dwyer said the crowd was brilliant, with the “mini-rugby World Cup” one of the largest attended events since the stadium opened last year.
“It was also the largest regional crowd for a Wallabies game ever. Great KPIS for future matches and events,” he said. With accommodation largely sold out on Friday and Saturday nights, he estimated the direct and indirect economic benefits to be worth over $6m.