Fresh from starring as a COVID-safe season saviour for the AFL, as well as an NRL and Super Netball hub, the Gold Coast has emerged as a magnet for summer sports aiming to grow their base and upsize their slice of the sports market.
Summer sports from baseball to basketball to Big Bash cricket are looking to capitalise on the potentially lucrative double-header of the rush of sports-loving interstate migrants to the sunshine state and Queensland’s star turn as the hub that saved the season for major winter sporting codes.
With all events under Queensland Health’s COVID Safe Event plans, the Gold Coast is hosting big-ticket contests across the sporting spectrum.
Six Big Bash matches will be played at the Gold Coast’s Metricon Stadium over Christmas and New Year, double the number of matches played on the Gold Coast last season, and will feature Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane sides.
The Sydney Sixers clash with Melbourne Stars on Boxing Day, with games featuring the Melbourne Renegades, Sydney Thunder, Adelaide Strikers and Brisbane Heat to follow on December 29 and January 1, 3, 7 and 10.
Queensland’s premier soccer side, Brisbane Roar, have already moved their training and administration base to the Gold Coast, commencing pre-season training at Metricon Stadium in October.
Roar CEO David Pourre said the training shift to the Gold Coast had been a positive move for the club.
“We have enjoyed completing our pre-season preparations on the Gold Coast. Our players have had access to elite facilities at the Gold Coast Sports and Leisure centre over the past three months and we’re now well placed to hit the ground running when our new A-League season starts on December 29,” he said.
In a move by baseball to directly reconnect with the Gold Coast, visitors and sports fans relocating to the region, the Brisbane Bandits will head south of the capital for a two-game baseball exhibition series on December 18–20.
Brisbane Bandits Principal Owner Mark Ready said the Gold Coast region produced the second largest number of baseball playing participants outside of Brisbane and had previously hosted both the Major League Baseball academy program and Little League National events.
“The Gold Coast is a very important part of Queensland’s baseball tapestry,” Ready said.
“We are extremely excited to be able to deliver top line baseball to the region…hopefully in the not-too-distant future there will be another ABL franchise based on the glitter strip.”
The Brisbane Bullets will also head to the Gold Coast to play two preseason games against the South East Melbourne Phoenix.
The Bullets will play Phoenix at the Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre on Friday December 18 and on Sunday December 20.
It comes after the NBL outfit that will feature a host of new faces this season had a two-day minicamp in the city while interstate restrictions remained in place in October.
Brisbane Bullets guard Jason Cadee said the Gold Coast games were important preparation for the season.
“The Gold Coast community welcomed us with open arms when we had a two-day minicamp there in October and we are thrilled to be able to bring live NBL basketball back to the city again,” he said.
“It has been an interrupted preseason but basketball is now back and we can’t wait to hit the court against a quality NBL opponent.”