Tamworth Regional Council cops criticism on NRL sponsorship

John Sommerlad
John Sommerlad

DESPITE opposition from corners of the community, councillors have backed the decision to sponsor next month’s footy fixture.

It was revealed at this week’s council meeting, the $20,000 sponsorship deal for the historic National Rugby League (NRL) match between Wests Tigers and the Newcastle Knights would buy sideline advertising for Destination Tamworth and a clutch of tickets.

Russell Webb and Phil Betts were strong supporters of the sponsorship package.

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Cr Webb said regional communities across the state “fight a hard battle” to get games like this into their community.

He said the value was in putting the city in front of those who wouldn't usually “take much interest in what happens in Tamworth” and engagement opportunities for the youth.

“I think there’s some great benefits to being a donor,” he said.

“The advertising alone is enough, but what it does for youth is worth more than that many times over.”

With signage on the ground, Cr Betts said it could show there’s more to Tamworth than country music.

“We’ve got the country music brand everywhere but we have some of the best sporting facilities in regional Australia,” he said.

Charles Impey was concerned council could miss out on “something of long-term significance” if it didn’t take this initial opportunity.

He said there would be a “ripple effect” from out-of-towners spreading the good word about Tamworth.

“They’ll go away and talk to other people and say ‘Tamworth is a lot more than country music, it’s a thriving city,” Cr Impey said.

“The ripple effect of people talking to their neighbours will be wonderful.” 

Juanita Wilson supported the motion but pointed-out it didn’t have to become a recurring sponsorship.

“I don’t see it as a precedent we need to look at as an ongoing thing,” she said.

Jim Maxwell said he wasn’t comfortable with the motion and voted against the sponsorship deal.

Mark Rodda reluctantly voted for the motion but addressed criticism about council and where it allocates funds.

“In relation to feedback from many ratepayers, for a whole host of reasons, on where we seek to allocate funding sometimes ratepayers don’t understand have different pots of money for different things,” he said.

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