COUNCIL will kick-in $20,000 for the Wests Tigers clash against the Cronulla Sharks.
Tamworth Regional Council (TRC) was asked to sponsor the August 21 game at Scully Park on the proviso it will put the city's name up in lights.
Despite criticism, the council has sponsored the game for a number of years and it's Wests Entertainment Group that has the most at stake, Cr Russell Webb said.
"To be quite honest with you the amount of money we inject into this, the city and the region benefits tenfold for the amount of money we put into sponsoring this event," he said.
"I think we would be foolish not to support this."
The total economic impact of the event is forecast at more than $1.8 million.
Not all councillors were on board with the idea, given TRC's own purse strings have noticeably tightened in the last year as COVID-19 decimated budgets and possible investment earnings.
While it's a great event, Cr Mark Rodda said the sponsorship was no longer necessary with matches secured at Scully Park for the last few years.
"NRL have already considered Tamworth as a site to come here, they are going to be promoting it at their venues coming up to the match and I don't see it as a necessary spend," he said.
Cr Jim Maxwell said he wouldn't support a sponsorship because regardless of TRC's input the game would go ahead.
The contract between the Wests Tigers and Wests Entertainment Group will wrap up this year and chief executive Rod Laing has said the games "don't come cheap" to host.
He said local councils in Bathurst, Mudgee, Wagga, Coffs Harbour and Dubbo had underwritten entire events because of the economic benefit.
Community criticism highlighted the need to better explain the true economic benefit of NRL games, Cr Glenn Inglis said.
"Particularly with these reports putting money to various things we have a system where we calculate economy benefit but the community has a right to know how we got to that number, so for the fence-sitters it puts some validity into the number," he said.
The motion was carried seven votes to two.
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