DESPITE the challenges of a global pandemic, the Geelong Major Events committee sponsored seven popular and diverse events in 2020-21, boosting the local economy by an estimated $9.2 million.
The greatest social and economic stimulus came from Geelong Gallery’s Rone In Geelong exhibition which delivered a much-needed injection of more than $4.62 million during its presentation from February 27 to May 16 this year.
Geelong-born artist Tyrone Wright, aka Rone, has become internationally renowned for his large-scale wall painting and immersive installations over two decades, with thousands converging on Geelong to see the unprecedented transformation of the Geelong Gallery.
In addition to Rone In Geelong, which received $50,000 in GME sponsorship, six other major events were sponsored and able to go ahead around COVID restrictions.
The 2020-21 WUFC Summer of Football received $16,000 in GME funding and created an estimated $816,575 in economic benefit; the 2021 Ironman 70.3 Geelong received $150,000, with a stimulus estimate of almost $1.8 million; and the 2021 Oceania Regional Tennis Championships, receiving $25,000 in support, provided a local economic boost of more than $207,000.
This year’s Head of the Schoolgirls’ Regatta, with $41,100 in GME sponsorship, delivered almost $1.45 million in economic benefit; the 2021 Police and Emergency Services Games received a $20,000 sponsorship and boosted the economy by more than $630,000; and the Wildfire Boxing Series Round Five received $20,000 through GME and stimulated the economy by about $347,000.
The GME committee’s annual report, presented to the City of Greater Geelong this week, also outlined the social benefits of the seven major events for the local community through participation and spectator opportunities.
Sixty per cent of the major events offered some level of free public access, with about 70,000 participants and spectators attending the seven events.
More than 50 per cent of those who attended the events were not Greater Geelong residents.
According to the GME report, about 74 full-time jobs were created in the local region through the seven major events, representing a return on investment of 28-to-one.
The report also detailed the nine GME sponsored events which were cancelled and four sponsored events which were postponed to 2021-22 due to COVID restrictions.
Postponed events include the 2020 Victorian Gymnastics Championship Services, 2020 Victorian Teacher’s Games, 2021 National Celtic Festival and 2021 Australian International Airshow.
A further $35 million of economic benefit is expected from the four postponed major events if they go ahead in 2021-2022.
The GME committee was established in 1998 to advise council on major events and sponsorship opportunities and includes council representatives and community members.