Lismore’s CBD businesses enjoyed a massive boost to weekend trade thanks to the NRL’s pre-season trial game between the Gold Coast Titans and the New Zealand Warriors at the recently upgraded Oakes Oval.
Tickets to the game sold out on Friday night with a reduced capacity of 4800 due to COVID.
Lismore City Council’s Events Coordinator Leanne Clark said that demand for tickets was so strong that she could have sold thousands more had it not been for COVID restrictions.
After the nail-biting game, spectators poured into the city looking for food and drink.
Council’s Manager of Economic Development Tina Irish estimates that the game bought in almost $350,000 into our local economy. This comes on top of last month’s relocation of the Sydney Blue Sox home series to Lismore, which generated a further $138,000.
“This is great news for our motels, hotels, restaurants, cafes and retail stores. Not only does it support the bottom line of our local businesses, it also supports the local people they employ,” she said.
“This is why investing to upgrade our sporting facilities, like Oakes Oval and Albert Park, is so crucial to generate economic growth and support local businesses.
“It is much more than building great local sporting facilities, it’s about supporting our businesses, creating jobs and strengthening our economy.”
Ashlee Rodgers, manager of The Gateway Motel, said the event was “definitely good for business”.
“We were busier than most weekends. Even on the Friday night we had the team that played the pre-game stay here from the Central Coast Rosters.
“We find you don’t normally get as many leisure guests to Lismore compared to what you get on the coast, but last weekend certainly brought them in.”
Felicity Hyde, who owns Scoops and Candy in Keen Street and also had a busy day, agrees.
“A lot of our customers on Saturday were people who came from the Gold Coast and all over, and where staying at motels in Lismore,” she said.