IF you thought the Gold Coast sporting ride was going to slow to a crawl after the Commonwealth Games, well think again … and buckle up.
The chairman of Sports Gold Coast Geoff Smith has announced a smorgasbord of mouth-watering sporting delights that he believes the Gold Coast can successfully attract in the next five years.
They include: The 2023 Women’s World Cup soccer tournament; a Big Bash cricket franchise; major sailing events; a National Basketball League licence; be the Australian home for the massively popular gaming phenomenon eSports with its own 5000-seat boutique stadium; be the home of the Australian women’s rugby 7s team; gain our own A and W-League soccer licences … and so much more.
Those who know Smith know that he is not prone to flights of fancy. He is a successful, down-to-earth, pragmatic lawyer. In fact he is one of the city’s most respected lawyers. He is also the founder of Sports Gold Coast – a relatively new entity on the Gold Coast whose aim is to combine the city’s corporate, government and sporting arms to achieve incredible sporting outcomes.
Smith says his wish list is far from a pipe dream. In fact spade work has already begun on all the above and early points are already being scored.
An announcement is expected soon in relation to Big Bash cricket staging possibly two games on the Gold Coast at the Suns’ Metricon Stadium in the 2018-19 season. Smith says the Gold Coast was also the perfect venue for a Big Bash franchise.
“We are synonymous with having a good time and that is what Big Bash is all about.”
Sports Gold Coast last year invested $70,000 in Bond University’s women’s rugby sevens program. SGC is not only working with local rugby to help shore up the code after recent financial difficulties, but to also position the city as national HQ for the booming women’s sevens.
Smith said SGC was also part of a push to attract a W-League soccer licence within five years and also to promote the Gold Coast as a possible venue for the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
“In the wake of the Commonwealth Games the Gold Coast will be in the perfect position to attract events of that magnitude. A decision on the host for the 2023 Women’s World Cup is expected in 2019,” he said.
“We are now a mature city with real infrastructure and the best natural assets in the world. Why wouldn’t people want to come here to compete.”
Smith said SGC has the Gold Coast Chinese Association Incorporated as one of its members which is keen to use sport to bring the Australian and Chinese communities closer. They are particularly interested in basketball, soccer and golf.
Smith, who admits to being ‘technologically challenged’, said even he was excited by the prospects of eSports.
“The numbers are mind-boggling,” he said. “The number of people playing; the number of people who come to eSports tournaments; and the money involved. SGC has commissioned a report into how the Gold Coast can exploit this opportunity.”
“All of these things are very achievable because now we have a neutral entity – Sports Gold Coast – who can act as a powerful conduit between the local business interests who want to make a major sporting initiative happen and the sport’s governing body,” he said.
“We bring with us powerful corporate and government allies who can make things happen.”