SMA News

All the latest news, insights and features in the world of Sports Marketing Australia with a focus on events, sports technology, marketing and much more.


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SMA Announces New Grant Writing Service

Spring 2021

Through our new grant writing service, SMA is helping clients to access $ millions in funding to assist with event attraction and placement.

At the request of event owners and councils across Australia, SMA has deployed new staff into grant writing to help these organisations access significant Federal and State Government funding.

This funding is on offer to reactivate the events, arts and entertainment industries. Event tourism is valued as an important driver to stimulate economies post Covid-19 lockdowns and SMA has recently worked on various grant applications including the State Government NSW Regional Events Acceleration Fund (REAF) and Federal Government Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund.

Already SMA has secured a number of grants worth over $1 million including $600,000 from the RISE Fund for the 2022 Squeeze Festival, a major music tour promoted by Chugg Music.

The Squeeze Festival 2022 will be the third year of a sell-out festival with up to 13 shows around the nation. This live music event is showcasing multiple Australian performers with a focus on reaching regional locations and audiences. The festival is geared towards creating a sense of community, connection and improved wellbeing in regional communities cut off during the many lockdowns over the past 18 months.

The events will provide an economic boost to the host location through local spend in the region from ticket holders travelling to attend festivals, day spend from local attendees and local suppliers as well as businesses and venues generating revenue through the opportunity to host a leg of the tour.

The RISE Fund is supporting the arts and entertainment sector to reactivate the industry with funding to assist in the presentation of cultural and creative projects, activities and events. The aim is to rebuild confidence amongst investors, producers and consumers.

Do you want access to government funding and need help with writing the grant application? Get in contact with SMA’s Director, Craig Gibson, on 0414 186 200.

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Photo: Mildura 2020. SMA is working with the Australian Fishing Championships (AFC) to place events and provide exceptional media exposure for the regions through high quality content.

Southern Grampians & Horsham Host Fishing Championships

Spring 2021

The Australian Fishing Championships (AFC), an elite sporting event and quality TV program featuring top anglers battling it out in Australia’s premium fishing locations is coming to Rocklands Reservoir in 2022.

SMA secured the program for 2022 through discussions with Marine Media Group in a joint venture between Southern Grampians Shire Council and Horsham Rural City Council. The event will be held in the Rocklands Reservoir, a unique waterway which Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) has been stocking with trophy fish for several years. The event will expose the wider destination to the world through extensive broadcasting rights.

The championships are crafted into a quality TV production with a range of additional videography which provides highly effective destination marketing. The broadcast opportunities offer Southern Grampians and Horsham Councils significant tourism marketing and branding opportunities, driving repeat visitation through fishing, camping and recreational tourism, targeting both the domestic and international market into the future.

The AFC is broadcast in Australia and 15 countries across Asia through free to air networks, cable sport channels and a variety of digital channels in all markets, delivering an audience of more than 4 million per championship round.

In addition to the main event and broadcast, the AFC Academy - an educational fishing program for local youth, will be held in Horsham and Hamilton in the lead up to the championships.

Southern Grampians Shire Council Mayor, Bruach Colliton, said the international broadcasting of the AFC Round at Rocklands had the ability to promote the area as a prime fishing destination and travel location, which would benefit Balmoral and the surrounding communities.

SMA Business Development Manager, Steffan Jurd, says the event provides exceptional media exposure for the regions. “This is a unique opportunity for these destinations, creating high quality content that assists in core marketing objectives, with international exposure”, he said.

To experience the quality of additional tourism promotion that AFC can provide, check out the ‘Hooked on Mackay’ here - Hooked on Mackay

To get a taste of an upcoming AFC episode, check out the teaser for Mildura’s episode here – AFC Mildura

Call Steffan to discuss our unique opportunities on 0414 953 332.

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Photo: This annual rowing regatta attracts the very best senior rowers in the state and brings around 1,000 visitors to the region from across NSW.

Clarence Valley Hosts Rowing Masters State Championships

Spring 2021

The Rowing NSW Masters State Championships will be held in the Clarence Valley Council region in 2022, which is the first time the event has been outside the Sydney International Regatta Centre since 2010.

This is an annual rowing regatta featuring the very best senior rowers in the state and attracting around 1,000 visitors to the region from across NSW. Masters are aged from 27 years, right through to the oldest competitors often being in their eighties, or even nineties.

SMA Business Development Manager, Steffan Jurd, said the Masters’ Championships was a popular event on the Rowing NSW events calendar with 500 – 650 competitors and officials taking part, with many bringing their partners, family, and friends as support crew.

Steffan said the benefits to the Clarence Valley were significant as all participants are encouraged to stay on and explore the local region, which has a keen focus on water sports.

The regatta runs for two days and is a great lead up to the Australian Masters' Rowing Championships, which for 2022 will be held at the Champion Lakes course in Perth, Western Australia.

Racing runs over a 1000 metre course with Single Sculls, Coxless Pairs, Double Sculls, Quad Sculls and Eights being raced on a 114-event program.

Like all masters’ competitions, the event has a fun, community-oriented element alongside the racing. It will feature various associated gatherings and functions over the weekend in local venues.

To find out more visit

To host significant events like this, or to find new destinations, contact Steffan on 0414 953 332 to discuss the opportunities.

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Photo: Cable Bay Adventure Park, Nelson NZ. Both the new LGA’s joining SMA's program are big on adventure sports, ranging from hiking to white-water rafting, sea-kayaking, skydiving, rainforest adventures and mountain biking trails.

Nelson NZ & Cassowary Coast QLD Join SMA Events Program

Spring 2021

Two new destinations, Nelson City Council in New Zealand and Cassowary Coast Regional Council in Northern Queensland, have joined forces with Sports Marketing Australia.

Both councils have signed onto the Events Placement Program, an innovation which develops events tourism in cities and regions in more than 65 locations. The program has delivered more than $4.8 billion direct spend into local economies since 2001.

SMA is now working with three New Zealand Local Government Areas including Palmerston North and Hawke’s Bay and there is strong interest from other NZ councils wanting to join the program and attract more events to their regions.

SMA is Australia’s leading event placement organisation, attracting events into partner regions to support local communities and secure hosting rights that generate revenue for event owners.

Signing on the new destinations means event owners across Australia and New Zealand have more locations to consider for upcoming sports, arts, entertainment and cultural events.

Managing Director, Rick Sleeman, said both Council areas were fantastic locations and would bring a new dimension to the Events Placement Program.

“We are really excited to welcome these two Councils on board,” Rick said. “Both these LGA’s are building a solid reputation for adventure sports ranging from hiking to white-water rafting, sea-kayaking, skydiving, rainforest adventures and mountain biking.

“There are some unique opportunities for significant cultural events with excellent food and wine and brewery and cider trails, cycling trails leading to exotic wineries and interesting indigenous cultural tours and arts tourism.

“SMA is honoured to partner with these destinations and we will be placing some high calibre events into these regions in coming months.”

Are you interested in learning more about the Events Placement Program? Talk to our National Events Director, Jason Sleeman, on (02) 6652 1112 or 0401 359 537.

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Spring 2021

SMA Places Tour de Cure's Signature Event

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NRL Clubs Relocated to Gold Coast

Winter 2021

Five NRL clubs will call Gold Coast home for a number of weeks after the NRL made the decision to relocate to Queensland.

Sports Marketing Australia (SMA) assisted the City of Gold Coast and the NRL in securing the clubs’ placement through a City Sport Attraction Program, translating into millions of dollars of investment into the Gold Coast region.

The Bulldogs, Eels, Rabbitohs, Raiders and Warriors will each bring at least 41 players, coaches and officials to Gold Coast for more than 30 nights, translating into a minimum of 6,150 bed nights.

Gold Coast Mayor, Tom Tate, said the city had a long history with rugby league.

“Our support for the league goes back decades in this city and we are honoured to be able to help the NRL keep season 2021 alive,’’ he said. “The deal to secure a ‘home base’ for the clubs, their support staff and administrators came through the exceptional work of our City Sport Attraction program. We can always make it happen.”

As part of the move, Gold Coast will also hold an additional 5 matches at CBUS between Round 19-21 inclusive, which will also be supported through the City Sport Attraction Program.

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For more information on far reaching projects like this, please contact our National Events Director, Jason Sleeman, on 0401 359 537.

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Yoga Festival First in Hawkes Bay NZ

Winter 2021

The expansion of SMA’s Events Placement Program into New Zealand is well underway with Hawke’s Bay, Palmerston North and Nelson now contracted and a number of new destinations are considering signing up to the international program.

The Hawkes Bay Yoga Festival was the first event held through this expansion program and the first run in New Zealand. It was made possible through the support of Hawkes Bay Tourism.

Organised by Yoga Festivals Australia, the Hawkes Bay Yoga Festival was run at the Napier War Memorial Centre from August 7-8, 2021.

The event offered people from all over the country a unique opportunity to try both invigorating and relaxing yoga styles over one expansive weekend. Event organiser, Ms Rosie Richards, created this festival and runs the Starlight Festival and other Yoga Festivals throughout Australia.

“The festival is a special chance for people to sample a wide range of experiences and different styles of yoga and it’s a unique weekend because these classes aren’t ordinarily available under one roof,” Ms Richards said.

The festival featured more than 25 yoga instructors, offering a diverse program of more than 42 classes. The event attracted 410 participants with 44% of these travelling from outside Hawkes Bay. The event was supported by Hawke’s Bay Tourism and Napier City Council.

“This is an awesome opportunity to see an established yoga festival in Australia make its debut in Hawke’s Bay,” Council Events Manager, Kevin Murphy, said. “We were looking forward to seeing the people of Hawke’s Bay and wider regions experience the festival.”

To find out more about the NZ Events Placement Program, talk to our National Events Director, Jason Sleeman, on 0401 359 537 or visit -

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Football Victoria Brings Masters Championship to East Gippsland

Winter 2021

Football Victoria is taking a new Masters Championship to East Gippsland in October and believes the event will grow the game while providing economic benefits to the region by leveraging off the Melbourne Cup long weekend.

Placed by SMA it is expected that 550 people will attend the event over two big days with most participants staying in the region two to three nights. The event will include a 7-a-side men’s competition played at Howitt Park and Davison Oval and a 5-a-side women’s competition at West Bairnsdale Oval.

FV will deliver an advertising and media campaign using their “GO Football” social registration platform. The local East Gippsland United Club, under the guidance of President, Tim Shelton, will run the tournament with FV administering the championship.

Staff and officials will come from Melbourne and it is anticipated that players will travel from Melbourne, Geelong and other regional areas ensuring a boost to regional tourism.

East Gippsland Shire Council Mayor, Cr Mendy Urie, said she was confident the event would be the start of a bumper season of events.

"We are looking forward to welcoming all the competitors, officials and supporters for the Masters’ Championships later this year.”

The event is expected to generate an economic impact of $583,000 direct spend for the East Gippsland economy and will also secure significant media and tourism exposure.

To learn more about placing events like this, contact our Business Development Manager, Dave Szumowski, on 0460 630 438.

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Flow Festival to Invigorate Mandurah

Winter 2021

The City of Mandurah will become the capital of good health in 2022 when the city hosts the inaugural Flow State Festival.

Held over 3 days in February, the event will attract thousands of participants who are keen to learn about the art of well balanced, healthy living. The festival will include a central hub, main stage, market stalls and pop ups, music, live classes, workshops, all to be hosted on the beautiful Mandurah foreshore.

Event owners, Brianna Delaporte and Erin Molloy from AHOY Management, said the Flow State Festival was designed for every day, health conscious people, who don’t want to cut out all the good stuff in life.

“This festival is for people who are interested to learn about the new trends in wellness and healthy life alternatives, while still living real lives,” Brianna said.

“We will showcase wellness trends with a range of professionals who will conduct info sessions that help people really understand what is possible within the new heath movements, but in a fun and contemporary way.”

Wellness is a $4.2 trillion global industry, with wellness tourism being a $639.4 billion industry. In 2019, there was a 182% increase in online searches for ‘Wellness Retreats’. Brianna said simple, achievable healthy living was a philosophy which people from all walks of life wanted to embrace.

The City of Mandurah will benefit from the experience with most participants expected to spend in excess of $580 in the region during a two-night stay.

The festival will not only include traditional wellness topics such as breathwork, mindfulness and yoga, but also different areas such as financial and sexual wellness.

Your region could host an innovative event like this. Talk to SMA’s Business Development Manager, Peta Howard, on 0408 582 011.

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Shoalhaven Secures Rhythmic & Aerobic State Championships

Winter 2021

SMA has secured the Rhythmic Gymnastics and Aerobic Gymnastics State Championships for the Shoalhaven in 2022, the second year the event has been held at the prestigious new Indoor Sports Centre.

These are the only times this event has been held out of Sydney Olympic Park, indicating the quality of this centre as a regional sports facility. The proposed direct economic impact is expected to be more than $650,500 and the event will attract about 315 competitors over 2.5 days with all participants visiting from outside the region.

This is the premier competition within NSW for Aerobic Gymnastics and Rhythmic Gymnastics. At the 2021 event, 750 registered spectators attended. All of these were visiting from outside the region, according to statistics obtained through ticket registration data. Spectator numbers were limited at that time due to Covid capacity restrictions and it is likely that the numbers will be higher in future years.

The championships will feature national and international standard athletes, including high performance elite gymnasts in both disciplines in the junior and senior categories. Members of the Australian Gymnastics Team will be competing, including those who represented Australia at the World Championships and at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

SMA Business Development Manager, Steffan Jurd, said the championships were a prestigious drawcard event providing significant economic and tourism benefits to the region.

“Moving forward, this event offers a great opportunity for the Shoalhaven Indoor Sports Centre to cement a prestigious State Championships event and showcase it as a premium venue that can potentially hold other high-profile events” Steffan said.

This is a great branding exercise for the region, marking it as a home of elite level gymnastics competition and presenting the chance for destination marketing to a large Sydney based market.”

To find out more about this event, or to look at opportunities for your region which attract high participation, call Steffan on 0414 953 332.

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