The Mildura South Regional Sporting Precinct (MSRSP) is already delivering on its promise to attract national-calibre events and exposure following a partnership with Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) team, the Villawood Bendigo Spirit.
Council has finalised a two-year partnership with Bendigo Spirit that will see the Chemist Warehouse WNBL team play one pre-season game and one regular season home game at the MSRSP over the next two seasons.
Councillor for Recreation and Events Liam Wood said the games were among a raft of benefits for the Mallee region to flow from the partnership.
“Despite still being in the final stages of completion of Stage 1 of the precinct, our community is already starting to see the benefits of having a venue of this size and quality in our region,” Cr Wood said.
He said each of the pre-season and regular season game visits would include a series of coaching clinics for local junior players, a talent ID program for Mildura Heat athletes and community engagement activities such as school visits.
Michael McIvor – Bendigo Spirit Commercial Partnerships Manager said his organisation was incredibly excited to partner with Mildura for the next two years.
“The Spirit is Regional Victoria’s team and we have an obligation to be a beacon for the young aspiring athletes from regional areas that want to play at the highest level. Our Spirit athletes are committed to being role models for all young people and they are looking forward to getting immersed in the Mildura community,” Michael said.
Bendigo Spirit Head Coach Tracy York said regional areas played an important role in the Spirit’s story.
“We are very proud of the fact that over 70% of the players, throughout the Spirit history, have been from regional areas and you never know, we might find the next Spirit superstar right here in Mildura,” Tracy said.
“Our very own Tessa Lavey comes from Swan Hill, so we know the kind of talent that exists in the Mallee region and with the new Mildura South Regional Sporting Precinct launching in the coming weeks, this next wave of athletes will have top level facilities to hone their skills.”
As part of the two-year partnership, Bendigo Spirit players will feature the ‘Visit Mildura’ logo on their playing uniforms, which will provide significant national exposure given the Chemist Warehouse WNBL’s broadcast arrangements.
There will also be a ‘Mildura Region’ game at the Bendigo Stadium, providing opportunities to promote Mildura as a destination to the potential 4000 strong crowd.
Cr Wood said the linkage with Bendigo Spirit’s home stadium would provide mentoring opportunities for operators of the MSRSP.
“Bendigo Stadium is the largest indoor stadium in Victoria outside metropolitan Melbourne and the largest basketball facility in regional Victoria,” he said.
“It regularly hosts large-scale sporting matches, world class events, industry conferences and community sport, which are the types of activities for which the Mildura South Regional Sporting Precinct is designed and has the opportunity to attract.
“We look forward to starting this journey with Bendigo Spirit which will showcase our newest and largest sporting precinct nationally, bring elite level sport to our community, increase basketball participation rates and promote our region nationally as a sporting and tourist destination.”
Council will continue to work with Bendigo Spirit to finalise dates for each of the pre-season and regular season home games, which will be announced in coming months.