While Dubbo will not be hosting a professional sporting match in 2023, mayor Mathew Dickerson believes the city will still get a wonderful chance to see their heroes live.
Having hosted an NRL match over the past two years thanks to a partnership with South Sydney, the decision was made last year not to renew the deal in 2023. Finances and the Rabbitohs' poor results at Apex Oval were among the reasons why.
However, those wishing to see matches only need to travel as far as Orange, Bathurst or Mudgee to see professional athletes in action with the latter two cities to host NRL games this year.
This week, Orange hosts a pair of Women's National Cricket League (WNCL) matches between the NSW Breakers and ACT Meteors at Wade Park.
But even without the city hosting matches, Dickerson can see the positive impact the decision will have on the community.
"I think it's actually good, some of these events around about the region, for example when we had South Sydney playing here then the region was the winner out of that," he said.
"Obviously Mudgee has a long-term deal for the Charity Shield which is great, not absolutely everything has to be in Dubbo, sometimes the strength of the region is important as well.
"I suppose we tend to take a slightly different view on these events, hosting these large events you have to put out a large amount of money, if you want an NRL game then you have to put about $400,000 on the table, depending on who the club is."
A $67,000 loss was reported following the 2022 NRL match between South Sydney and Canberra, with Dickerson believing the money could be well used elsewhere to attract other interested parties.
"It's a lot of ratepayers' money you have to put on the table just to get a match, that actually goes to the club then you have the rest of the work you've got to do at your end which could be advertising or ground preparation," he said.
"You might get some ticket sales back or the deal could be that you don't get them back, there is different arrangements with different clubs.
"We did that for a couple of years, it was a different process and we lost money on both those years so it cost the ratepayers money.
"Some hospitality places benefit from that but we really want to focus on utilising our fields all year round. If you look at some of the things we have had on over the last few weeks and what is upcoming.
"The NSW Swimming Championships had 700 people who were here for that, it's people that stayed here for days. The way you inject money into your economy is we use a figure of $208 per person, per night."
Barden Park has hosted two major athletics carnivals already this year and will host another in just a few weeks, with the NSW Country Championships being held at the venue back in January.
With Dubbo unlikely to host any major professional sporting events in 2023, the city has looked at other options, in particular junior state or country carnivals.
Later this month, Dubbo will host the NSW Touch Junior State Cup Northern Conference, an event Dickerson would love to see stay here in the future.
"The Junior State Cup we have coming here is dramatically better, I'd have one of those every year rather than an NRL match," he said.
"That's going to bring 10,000 visitors for four days in Dubbo, we've only got about 5,000 beds in Dubbo so Narromine and Wellington benefit from that.
"I would argue that those juniors tournaments are pumping more money into our economy and costing us dramatically less than an NRL match."
Dickerson has told the Daily Liberal before about the possibility Dubbo had of hosting professional sporting matches during the upcoming FIFA Women's World Cup which will be hosted in Australia.
But for now, Dubbo Sports Council president Neil Webster is excited to see what the junior carnivals have to offer.
"A lot of those are coming to Dubbo, there is a big increase in regional and state carnivals coming to Dubbo which is fantastic," he said.
"As you know there a big cost involved in bringing an NRL team to Dubbo, it's great to have them but there is a cost involved.
"This is my view and not the sports councils but I don't know what Dubbo Regional Council are deciding in that regard but obviously it is not happening this year.
'As far as sports council go, it's great to see council being so proactive at getting sporting carnivals to Dubbo. They are doing a great job at that."
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