WE'RE about to jump into the biggest sporting event in the world - but on Tamworth's home turf there's a headline kickoff to another city sports event.
On the eve of the Olympic Games the worst kept secret in Tamworth sport went public - with organisers announcing that the Newcastle Jets will return to the city for an A-League football pre-season clash with the Brisbane Roar at Scully Park on September 1.
It is the third professional football game for Tamworth the past two years and comes after the Canberra Raiders and Canterbury Bulldogs played an NRL trial last year and the NSW Waratahs took on Samoa in February.
Tamworth Regional Council has been actively seeking such events after the value of major sporting fixtures and tournaments and the visitors they bring was revealed by a special audit three years ago.
It was estimated that sport was worth $17 million a year to the local economy and when it came to economic input, accommodation and other businesses benefiting greatly from the influx of players and fans.
The city has reaped big wins this year from showcase events like the Waratahs game, the Eastern University Games and the Australian U16 Basketball Championships.
Organisers expect the visit of the A-League champions and the Jets should bring plenty of attention to the city and attract football fans from all over the north of the state.
The game, to be called the Northern Inland Football A-League Challenge, is also a great boost for local Tamworth club football.
"It is great to be taking an A-League trial game to Tamworth and showcasing our game to our northern NSW region," Jets CEO Robbie Middleby said yesterday.
It's not the first time the Jets have visited.
In 2006 they played against the Melbourne Victory at Scully Park prior to the inaugural A-League season.
Tickets go on sale on Wednesday from West Tamworth League Club or on its website www.wtlc.com.au and although prices have not been released previous games sold from $20 to $30.