Big boost to region from major football matches

KEEN: Mayor Leon Stephens welcomed the stadium development at Memorial Oval, venue of the state country football championships and SANFL Showdown.
KEEN: Mayor Leon Stephens welcomed the stadium development at Memorial Oval, venue of the state country football championships and SANFL Showdown.

The South Australian Country Championships and the SANFL Showdown match in Port Pirie brought an estimated $500,000 into the region last month.

This was the second major sporting event hosted at Port Pirie's Sports Precinct after the success of the AFL JLT Community Series match between Adelaide Crows and Port Power in March.

A Port Pirie Regional Council spokeswoman said a total of 4800 people had attended the championships-Showdown weekend, with numbers for the SANFL match beating attendance figures for the other SANFL fixtures in Adelaide at the same weekend.

While the SANFL match between Adelaide and Port Adelaide was a highlight, the championships also generated significant interest, including 6000 live-stream views on the Sunday and all six zones represented in the women's titles for the first time. Chief executive officer of the SANFL Jake Parkinson praised the arena.

"The city's outstanding facilities at the newly redeveloped Memorial Oval will provide great opportunities to develop local football and support the growth of sport in the region," he said.

"It was terrific to see the overwhelming support for the championships from the community which shows the region's passion for country football."

Mayor Leon Stephens was thrilled with the boost to the economy.

"That was fairly effective compared with the JLT Community Series match in March because of the heat back then," he said.

"We had these guys all over the weekend. It was brilliant for the community.

"I know a lot footy clubs loved it. If they offered it again, we would be there in a heartbeat."

President of the Spencer Gulf League Les Promnitz says economic benefit was a major reason to bring the event to town. "Walking around the town and talking to business people, they were saying that they benefited from it," he said.

The numbers surprised Mr Promnitz who said they were "up on normal" and they received great feedback. "We had a presidents' review and there are no negatives from that review. They are impressed with the way it was run and how it was accepted - the facility had a lot to do with that."

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