Queensland AFL fans converge on Townsville this weekend
Townsville will host another NAB Challenge pre-season fixture when the Gold Coast Suns play the Geelong Cats this Sunday March 1 as part of a partnership between Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) and the Australian Football League (AFL).
Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Kate Jones, said the fixture at the Tony Ireland Stadium was expected to attract thousands of fans to the region.
“Last year’s NAB Challenge pre-season match between the Brisbane Lions and the Gold Coast SUNS delivered a $1.5 million boost for the local economy,” Ms Jones said today.
"Hosting events such as this helps drive visitation and support a strong tourism industry - and that means jobs for Queenslanders.
“We encourage fans coming for the fixture to extend their stay and enjoy more of the great visitor experiences the region has to offer.”
This weekend’s event forms part of a diverse calendar of events in the Townsville region including the Magnetic Island Adventurethon, Castrol Townsville 400, Townsville Triathlon, Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Townsville Running Festival, Magnetic Island Race Week, and the Troy Dunn Professional Bull Riders Invitational.
Local Member for Thuringowa, Aaron Harper, welcomed the event and said, “This is a fantastic opportunity for locals and visitors to watch the game of AFL at Tony Ireland Stadium this weekend. Seeing teams such as the Gold Coast Suns and Geelong Cats travelling to the regions showcasing their AFL sport also provides a great opportunity for Riverway to show off all it has to offer. This gives Thuringowa an injection into our economy.”
The pre-season game is part of a suite of AFL initiatives for Queensland in 2015 under the AFL-TEQ partnership including the National Kickstart Championship and the Round 15 AFL Toyota Premiership fixture in Cairns, and the National Under-16 Championship on the Gold Coast.
AFL General Manager Broadcasting, Scheduling and Major Projects, SimonLethlean, said: “We’re committed to growing the game in North Queensland and it’s great that the Townsville fans will be able to see the Gold Coast SUNS, one of the AFL’s most exciting new teams, play against Geelong, who have been one of the most successful clubs over the last decade.
“Not only will North Queensland be able to witness top-flight AFL football first hand on Sunday, but the Gold Coast SUNS will spend time in Mackay this Thursday andFriday and Townsville next Monday and Tuesday as part of their Australia Post AFL Community Camp, with players visiting local schools, hospitals and Juniors Clubs.
“The AFL would like to thank the Queensland Government, through Tourism and Events Queensland, for their continued support in bringing AFL events, such as the NAB AFL Draft and the Round 15 Toyota AFL Premiership match in Cairns, to the State.”
During the election, Labor pledged $100 million towards a new stadium for Townsville so it can continue to attract high quality sporting events.