MOST blokes would love to play like Sonny Bill Williams and a lot of teenage girls would give up Facebook for a week just to get within arms distance of the NRL mega star, so what would a SBW trip west mean for Orange?
Figures obtained by the Central Western Daily reveal the staging of big ticket sports events provide a large financial boost for the host city.
The most recent match to be staged at Wade Park was the Fiji Warriors versus NSW Waratahs trial in January, 2010.
Of the 6,623 people in the crowd to cheer on the Tahs in a 83-15 win, the percentage of the people from outside of Orange was 64.
The percentage of people then from outside of the central west region was 42.
On average, those who travelled to the game and returned home that evening spent close to $150 per person in Orange while watching the rugby.
Those from outside of the central west who chose to stay the night, possibly two, injected $244 per person, per day during their stay.
Based on those figures, the same figures used by Tourism Research Australia, the match would have been worth at least $1.3 million dollars to the Orange economy.
That dollar figure rises when you start talking rugby league.
Bumper crowds of over 8,000 people ventured to Wade Park to take a look at some of the best players in the game play the City-Country clash in 2009 and the Canberra-Brisbane trial match 12 months earlier.
They’re big numbers for big games.
And in some regards, of late, Orange has missed the boat.
Since February 2010, NRL and City-Country fixtures in Mudgee and A-League matches - Bathurst’s Carrington Park playing home to two premier soccer games in the space of 12 months - have been scattered around the region.
The 2014 City-Country match will be in Dubbo for the first time since 2006.
We’ve missed the entertainment, obviously, and it would appear, crucially for business, we’ve missed out on the injection of dollars that comes with it.
Well, not entirely.
Impressively, the argument for making a stadium a multi-purpose precinct capable of hosting big ticket items as well as junior championship events is backed heavily by the numbers.
And Orange has held a number of junior and senior championships while it has fallen by the big-game way side.
NSW Country Junior Rugby Union under 14s championships, Gymnastics NSW Country Championships and State Cup Volleyball, to name a few, have been staged here since Fiji was hammered by the Waratahs.
The big draw card behind bidding for junior championship events is the multi-day factor.
Mums, Dads and little Johnnys could stay for as much as a week at a junior event.
In that case, a whopping $193 per person, per day is injected into the city’s economy.
Take the Gymnastics NSW Country Championships in Orange last week as an example.
Held over four days at Anzac Park, close to 850 people flooded the area worth an estimated $1.8 million to Orange.
Whether it be big or small, the benefits are just as huge.
With Orange City Council signalling its intention to find a site for a multi-purpose precinct, council’s sport and recreation advisor Ben Keegan said the tricky part was working out a balance between nabbing high profile and grass roots events.
“It’s good to have a blend of both,” Keegan said, adding any new precinct would be required to play host to seniors and juniors in Orange.
“It’s the sort of thing that looks at encouraging high profile games, but the aged events where people are staying two, three, four days have significant economic benefits to the community.”
Touch NSW competitions can attract more than 4500 competitors, plus supporters.
In December 2008 Port Macquarie hosted a State Touch carnival and it injected $4 million into the city’s business community.
Events Victoria figures suggest a multiplier effect can potentially double that benefit.
Essentially, for every dollar spent at these events it then trickles throughout the city’s economy another 1.7 times.
“Basically if you’re staying at a hotel and spend $100, the hotel then has to pay someone to change and wash the sheets and what not. For every one dollar you can times it by 2.7 through eventual wages. It adds up,” Keegan said.
“It’s then you get to see the true worth of some of these events.”
A centre near accustomed to the big scale events since opening its own multi-purpose precinct in 2012, Mudgee has seen the benefits, both financially and through exposure.
Mudgee Dragons Rugby League club president Roger Lang says the Glen Willow Regional Sporting Complex has been “great” for the community.
“We’ve been able to get a few Sydney games; the City-Country and the Parramatta game, and I know soccer and rugby have a couple of big events planned for next year as well,” he said.
Ken Sutcliffe during the Parramatta-Gold Coast match in May had this to offer: “I’ve never seen a town of this size gets so much exposure. Plenty of people are talking about it. Places like Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo - all bigger than Mudgee - don’t get nearly as much.”
Still counting the revenue raised through bar and canteen sales during that game, Lang believes the impact of the stadium will be lasting.
“Even throughout the summer, the town has people coming out to Mudgee to have a look,” Lang said.
“They go out there and check it out and the general feedback is it’s better than a lot of the metropolitan grounds in Sydney.”