The Mackay Regional Council will enter a three-year agreement with the Heat to promote Mackay and the neighbouring Whitsunday region and deliver rebel Women’s Big Bash League matches to the area for 2021 and 2022.
The deal will see the championship WBBL Brisbane Heat sport Mackay Regional destination messaging on their sleeve for the coming series commencing on 25 October in Sydney, as well as targeted digital assets and innovations driven by the Heat’s award-winning content creation team.
The Heat have been regular visitors to Mackay in recent years, and the partnership with Mackay Regional Council will see the club return to Harrup Park for the next two seasons.
The WBBL Heat have played six matches in Mackay since 2018, with the games generating big crowds and strong growth in female participation in the area, recording the highest level of registered female players outside of the Brisbane metropolitan area.
The crowd of 5650 which attended Brisbane’s match against Adelaide in January 2019 is a stand-alone game record attendance for the Heat.
Queensland Cricket CEO Terry Svenson congratulated the Council for its vision and commitment.
“We are very fortunate to have been able to work so collaboratively with the Council, Harrup Park Country Club and Mackay Cricket Association to achieve some wonderful results in Mackay,’’ he said.
“The reception the WBBL Heat receive every time they play there is outstanding, and we are enthusiastic about being a part of some very exciting plans for the region in the next few years.
“We’re pleased to be able to assist with the region’s economic recovery and we were delighted to see the recent funding commitment of $10 million by the Queensland Government to enable the construction of the $24 million Great Barrier Reef Arena at Harrup Park from next year,’’ he said.
“The messaging carried by the Heat about visiting the Mackay region, as well as the club staging future events here, will hopefully generate visitor numbers and revenue and make a real difference to the city and surrounding area,” Svenson said.
Mackay Regional Council Mayor Greg Williamson said the partnership was fantastic news for the region.
“This partnership will be tremendous for our region. We’re proud to be a part of bringing top-class women’s cricket to Mackay and sports fans, particularly families, have really responded to these events in previous years,” Mayor Williamson said.
“For example, in 2019 the WBBL blockbuster weekend at Harrup Park drew a record crowd of more than 8000 people,” he said.
“Thanks to this deal, we look forward to hosting similar events in the near future. I’m sure the Mackay community will be behind these events once again.”
Council is a supporter of these events through its Invest Mackay Events Attraction Fund which helps to bring great events like these to the region.
Harrup Park CEO Matt Cielens welcomed the strengthening of ties between the Heat and Mackay and congratulated the Regional Council on its vision.
“We’re very pleased at the prospect of continuing our relationship with the Heat and working alongside the Mackay Regional Council to deliver important exposure for the city and region,’’ he said.
“We’re looking forward to delivering a world-class venue in the form of the Great Barrier Reef Arena for the team and their fans,’’ he said.
Svenson said Queensland Cricket’s intent to take quality cricket content to regional Queensland remained firm.
“From day one, Queensland Cricket has maintained the approach that being named the Brisbane Heat would not preclude the club from being a Queensland team, just as the Bulls and Fire represent the entire State,’’ he said.
“In the past decade, the Heat have played matches or staged events in Cairns, Mackay, Sunshine Coast, Ipswich, Gold Coast and visited numerous centres throughout the State through the annual StreetSmarts Regional tour.”
The WBBL Heat squad will travel to Sydney next week ahead of their opening match of the season against the Perth Scorchers on Sunday 25 October.