Television spectacles become the main event

WA IS set to reap more than $43 million in 2001 from events sponsored by Eventscorp – but that figure could be far higher if the State Government’s organisation’s focus on media events pays off in the longer term.

Significantly short of the record $68 million, next year’s economic impact is below the average generated by Eventscorp during the past four years but reflects a growing change in the organisation’s strategic view.

General manager Linda Wayman said Eventscorp was increasingly targeting events which appealed to international television audiences and promoted WA as a general tourism destination.

This decision reduced the economic impact which could be directly attributed to those events but potentially had far greater long-term impact.

It is much harder to calculate the economic benefit of a television broadcast from Perth compared to events where visitor numbers directly related to an event could be tallied up and their spending estimated in a confident manner.

“That is part of the drive to raise the awareness of WA as a tourism venue,” Ms Wayman said.

An example of the new style of events being sought by Eventscorp is a major hang gliding competition due to be held around regional WA late next year.

The extreme sport will be telecast by International Management Group’s broadcasting subsidiary Trans World International.

By using branding and spectacular natural backdrops for these world-class aerobatic hang gliding pilots, Eventscorp hopes to boost the profile of WA as a holiday destination – without necessarily seeing big crowds here for the event itself.

“That will showcase those regional areas and the Swan (River).”

“We are certainly tending to seriously look at the media impact events. Even though it is not as tangible to the tourism industry here, it is a very cost effective way of promoting WA.”

“We road-tested that on the Heineken (Classic golf tournament) and everyone does it now.”

But just how much impact that has on the State’s bottom line is difficult to assess.

“International television is a pretty imprecise science.”

Among next year’s other events are Rally Australia, the Hopman Cup and Heineken Classic, all of which have had the threat of departure clouding their future.

Ms Wayman said Rally Australia had been retained, the Hopman Cup was in Perth for at least two more years and negotiations were underway to keep the tennis tournament here, while the Heineken golf tournament would be replaced by a new tournament in November.

IMG is also involved in the new, as yet unnamed, golf event.

On top of that, there is the Karate World Championships and the Rugby Union test against South Africa, the latter being an event which generated $8 million for WA when it was first staged at Subiaco Oval in 1998.

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