OPINION: $650,000 to host an NRL game; worth it?

$650,000 to host an NRL game; would it have been worth it?

As a one-off event, no. As the catalyst for a national marketing campaign promoting Rockhampton as a place to visit and live, yes.

On Saturday night a regular visitor to Rockhampton asked what was amiss; after seven minutes in a taxi he got out despondent, he received a detailed listing and even a drive past one of the businesses recently closed.

There are many reasons for the recent closures, including Rockhampton city needs more people to live here to support the shops it has.

Remember when Red Hill opened as a retail centre the reference of "Shophampton" being made. We need to give people more reasons to visit and ideally live here.

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An NRL game played in Rockhampton could have been an important tool in achieving this.

The NRL game would have given Rockhampton national exposure.

Costing some $650,000 to host, though, meant the game should never have been just considered a one-off cyclone recovery present for the region.

No doubt the NRL bid team had greater goals in mind.

Did the council and our promotional bodies have a strategy in place to utilise the NRL game in achieving population growth goals?

Picture if the game was to go ahead in August getting Gorden Tallis, Gold Coast Titans' ambassador and who regularly appears on NRL-related programming, to visit Rockhampton during the River Festival in July. What an opportunity to prep him on the message we want said about the region in the lead-up to the game.

After the game, run native advertising campaigns with The Australian newspaper to take advantage of the awareness the NRL game created, giving substance to Rockhampton as a vibrant place to visit, even relocate to.

Mention property prices; compare a home on The Range to the price of a similar size home with capital city views.

Draw attention to the professional vacancies available. Show off our cultural assets.

Demonstrate there's more to Rockhampton than rugby league.

Extend the marketing momentum to include educating local taxi drivers on their importance in creating a favourable impression when visitors arrive.

Well there's always next year. But how come Gosford gets three games this year?

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