THE HYPED NRL clash between Wests Tigers and Canberra Raiders will kick off with a $20,000 bonus from Tamworth Regional Council.
And, for the first time the council will sponsor the Super Rugby round between the NSW Waratahs and South African Bulls for $10,000.
It was touch-and-go at Tuesday night's meeting, with the vote tied on whether it was still appropriate for the council to sponsor the NRL game.
Acting mayor Phil Betts cast the "unenviable" deciding vote and said the $2.14 million economic impact was hard to ignore.
"For investing $20,000 you get enormous advertising for Tamworth as a sporting centre of excellence, for that I will support it," he said.
Councillors Mark Rodda, Juanita Wilson and Jim Maxwell voted against.
Some felt it was difficult to support cash sponsorship while communities still face infrastructure backlogs.
Others argued the risk to Wests Entertainment Group to host the game had dulled with the NRL clash a 'must-see' for both tourists and local fanatics.
The sponsorship support is all part of the council's strategy to come under a national spotlight, with the lead up to the event earning it more than $1 million in advertising on Fox Sports and mainstream media.
Everybody who earns a wage in this town stands to gain.Cr Russell Webb
Councillor Russell Webb argued $20,000 in sponsorship is chump change when compared to the return and the support Wests Entertainment Group has shown the community.
"The same thing happens in only two other regional centres and that's Bathurst and Orange," he said.
"We're one of three who have actually secured the opportunity to have a sporting event of this calibre in our region.
"Everybody who earns a wage in this town stands to gain."
The NRL matches draw crowds up to 9000 spectators to the city and the economic impact is estimated around the $2.14 million mark.
It's the third year in a row Tamworth has hosted an NRL clash with the support of Wests Entertainment Group, and other regional councils have paid more to host NRL fixtures.
Cr Glenn Inglis declared an interest in the matter and left council chambers during the vote and discussion.