The ACT Government has announced it will invest the $150,000 fine it imposed on the Canberra Raiders for breaking their contract to secure more sporting content for the nation’s capital.
The Raiders were hit with the fine last week for breaking the contract terms of their 10-year deal with the government to play all home games in the nation’s capital after the Raiders decided to take one of their home games to Wagga Wagga.
The Raiders will host the Penrith Panthers in the ‘City of Good Sports’ in the fifth round of the 2019 season after the club signed a two-year deal with the Wagga Wagga City Council to bring NRL matches to the city.
The agreement will see the Raiders send one of their 12 home games to the Riverina during the 2019 and 2020 season as the club looks to reconnect with its Riverina fans.
The Government’s decision to impose the fine has sparked debate, causing NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro to set up a petition calling on the ACT Government to withdraw the penalty.
But ACT Sports Minister Yvette Berry said although she supports the intent of the Raiders in reaching out to the broader region, it is a requirement of their funding agreement that the Raiders play each home NRL game at GIO Stadium given the major investment the ACT community makes in both the stadium and the team.
Ms Berry said the money from the Raiders fine will be redirected into other sporting content in the nation’s capital but did not elaborate on what sport or sports would benefit.
When asked if the ACT Government will attempt to lure rugby league content next year to Canberra in place of the NRL match in Wagga Wagga, Ms Berry said she was discussing future opportunities with the NRL.
“The ACT Government has an open line with the NRL about future opportunities for content,” she told Region Media. “As always, we weigh up the community and economic value of supporting these events with the public investment required to attract them.”
Canberra already has a plethora of sporting content, with the Raiders, Brumbies, Canberra United, Canberra Capitals, Canberra Cavalry, GWS Giants, Sydney Thunder and test cricket all taking place in the nation’s capital. Ms Berry also recently signed a $125,000 deal to host one NBL game between the Illawarra Hawks and Cairns Taipans at the AIS Arena in January.
What sport do you want the ACT Government to spend the $150,000 on? Let us know by commenting below.