These guys have Heart

Photo by NATSKY
Photo by NATSKY

Oakes Oval, Lismore, was a great place to be last Friday night to witness the first ever A-League game to be played in town.

Despite this being a trial fixture, the intensity of the match reflected the weight of expectation of the big crowd who had come to see some of the best players in the country. Amidst the glitz and glamour of high quality sport, there was a lot more than simply a game of football played between the best players we have ever seen assembled locally.

The 90 minutes of normal time and the exciting penalty shoot-out to decide the Craig Foster Cup was just part of activities that encompassed an event that extended more than a week. Sport allows people of all cultures and diversity of interests to benefit in ways that may encompass enjoyment from the game, whilst giving opportunity for broader positive outcomes to occur.

Having the Melbourne Heart in Lismore for eight days was a brilliant experience from a sporting perspective, however it also provided an economic boost. Understanding the tangible benefit should not be merely thought to be through the direct expenditure, despite that being significant. There is a sizable multiplier effect of spending in our community that is generated when people visit this area, made even more valuable when they stay for a period of time. It is the future visitations to the region initiated by tales of good times had on the Northern Rivers as visitors from far and wide tell friends and family about the beautiful area, friendly locals and unique places of interest.

Exposure for Lismore has already been publicised on SBS this week on The World Game. Feedback from both Melbourne Heart and Western Sydney Wanderers has been glowing beyond expectations. Being able to work closely with professional sporting organisations has given us a chance to advance the spirit of progress for the game locally. The importance of delivering an event that draws praise from influential people in sport, government and business, is fundamental to receiving their support for future sporting events.

We take nothing for granted as we operate with restricted resources despite being the biggest sporting body on the Far North Coast. Our objective must be to become more professional, to forge relationships with a range of stakeholders who operate in forums that will give us access to opportunities.

Thank you to everyone who attended this event and confirmed the values of Lismore and the Far North Coast region.

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