Colac Otway prepares for AFL pre-season match opportunity
September 26, 2019
Colac Otway Shire Council has given the green light to hosting an AFL JLT Community Series match at Colac Central Reserve next year if given the opportunity by the AFL.
The decision to support a pre-season AFL match in Colac follows the overwhelming success of the 2018 JLT Series match at Central Reserve and a review into the economic impact of that match.
Colac Otway Shire Mayor Cr Jason Schram said last year’s AFL JLT match between Geelong and Essendon was a fantastic event which attracted more than 10,000 people, with positive responses from businesses and the wider community.
“Colac Otway proved it was more than capable of hosting a major sporting event and it provided a huge opportunity to showcase Colac and the Shire from an economic growth and tourism potential.
“Council’s analysis of the 2018 event showed a direct impact of about $375,500, with the measurable flow-on economic impact as high as $1.065 million.
“However the match also aired internationally on Foxtel; that incredible level of exposure for Colac and our Shire is impossible to measure.
“The Great Ocean Road is recognised around the world but we have limited opportunities to host an event for our Shire community that also showcases the Colac area on the world stage.
“There are also additional events associated with the pre-season matches which involve our local schools, and our wider community is encouraged to actively play a role as a volunteer or a spectator.
“The positivity across the community of having Colac host of a major event is extremely valuable.
“The cost of hosting an event of this calibre is significant but Council is confident it can reallocate funds within the 2019-20 Budget without any major impact to Council services.
“Council has estimated it will need about $130,000 after AFL reimbursements, to host a 2020 AFL JLT Community Series match if the Shire is successful in its efforts to attract a game next year.
“We will also seek partnership and volunteer contributions to offset the cost to Council.
“The AFL may also require Council to relocate interchange benches at Central Reserve at a cost of about $40,000 however the AFL has indicated it might contribute funds and Colac Football Netball Club has indicated it might contribute in-kind labour for the relocation,” Cr Schram said.
“Hosting a national-standard sporting event is a great opportunity for our Shire and I hope Council is successful so as a community, we can work together to present another exciting pre-season AFL match.”