The Sunshine Coast Netball team, The Lightning at Alexandra Headland ahead of their inaugural season in the competition. Stephanie Wood, Kelsey Browne, Laura Langman, Geva Mentor, Caitlin Bassett, Cara Koenen, Erena Mikaere, Madeline McAuliffe, Karla Mostert, Laura Scherian.
The Sunshine Coast Netball team, The Lightning at Alexandra Headland ahead of their inaugural season in the competition. Stephanie Wood, Kelsey Browne, Laura Langman, Geva Mentor, Caitlin Bassett, Cara Koenen, Erena Mikaere, Madeline McAuliffe, Karla Mostert, Laura Scherian. John McCutcheon

Campaign worth 'millions' to promote the Coast

A MARKETING campaign worth "millions and millions and millions” of dollars will be built around Sunshine Coast Lightning to further boost tourism in the region.

With Lightning games to be beamed into homes live across the country on the Nine Network in 2017, Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Simon Latchford says the region will gain significant exposure across the nation and across the ditch.

"There will be all sorts of promotions - some fixed, some live, competitions, television exposure from one end of the country to the other,” he said.

Simon Latchford, CEO Visit Sunshine Coast.
Simon Latchford, CEO Visit Sunshine Coast. contributed

He said a "significant” budget allocation had been made on the project, but couldn't reveal the exact figures.

"It's not a controversial budget,” he said.

"It's a commercial budget with investment made by council, the University (of the Sunshine Coast) and by ourselves. It has the full support of the board, of course.”

Latchford said sport and tourism on the Sunshine Coast went hand-in-hand and February's NRL and netball trial matches would have a double whammy effect.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 02:  Cooper Cronk of the Storm looks on during the 2016 NRL Grand Final match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Melbourne Storm at ANZ Stadium on October 2, 2016 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 02: Cooper Cronk of the Storm looks on during the 2016 NRL Grand Final match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Melbourne Storm at ANZ Stadium on October 2, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images) Cameron Spencer

Melbourne Storm will play New Zealand Warriors at Sunshine Coast Stadium on February 11, with Sunshine Coast Lightning to hit the court for the first time against New Zealand-based Southern Steel on February 10 and 12.

He said Lightning's direct links to Melbourne Storm would also have lasting effects.

"Two of our key markets will be represented,” he explained.

"Melbourne has been the number one domestic market for us, followed by NSW which is perfect from the rugby league perspective. Then of course there is New Zealand.

Shaun Johnson of the Warriors during the Round 26 NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and Parramatta Eels at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand on  Sunday, September 04, 2016. (AAP Image/David Rowland) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Shaun Johnson of the Warriors during the Round 26 NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and Parramatta Eels at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand on Sunday, September 04, 2016. (AAP Image/David Rowland) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY DAVID ROWLAND

"We've seen a 25% increase (on New Zealand visitors) this year and remember, we're the last regional tourism body to have an office in New Zealand.”

Latchford believes the Coast could see similar rewards experienced by Tasmania's links with the Hawthorn Australian Football Club.

"All that success was aided by three (consecutive) premierships but we're mindful of the opportunities,” Latchford said.


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