Newcastle 500 delivers return for city’s investment

20 Dec 2019

Following a third successful Newcastle 500, City of Newcastle has outlined its costs and the event’s benefits for the region.
City of Newcastle has a $1.6 million annual events budget for the Newcastle 500.

The figure includes the license fee and all operational costs including traffic and waste management, communications, all event works specific to the event, and staff resources. It also includes a program of events, activations, and promotions to encourage patronage to businesses outside the race precinct. There are no ongoing costs for City of Newcastle for storage of event delivery infrastructure for the Newcastle 500 after a lease with UGL ended earlier this year.
The Hunter Research Foundation Centre (HRFC) concluded that the benefit of the 2017 three-day event to the local economy was $30.1 million, confirming the decision of the elected Council in 2016 to secure the event on behalf of the region.
The $30.1 million benefit of the event would be far higher if the direct economic benefit in neighbouring areas including Port Stephens, Lake Macquarie, Maitland and Cessnock were included.
The $1.6 million figure represents just 5.3 per cent of the $30.1 million economic injection into the city as calculated by the HRFC’s independent research.
The Hunter Research Foundation Centre’s independent analysis also estimated that up to 124 full-time equivalent jobs have been generated from direct and flow-on impacts of the 2017 Newcastle 500.
Costs associated with the City’s multi-million-dollar East End civil works program were excluded from the economists’ analysis as these were scheduled works brought forward by several years to enable the inaugural Newcastle 500. There have been no requests from Supercars Australia for infrastructure works since the initial civil project.
City of Newcastle is still reviewing the actual cost of vandalism and malicious damage in protest to the event, but the cost is substantial and in the tens of thousands of dollars. This includes poisoning of turf, graffiti on fencing and other infrastructure, and the use of potentially damaging materials such as oil and diesel dumped around the suburb and parks.
City of Newcastle is continuing to complete general maintenance and upgrade works in the domain in line with its ongoing infrastructure management program.
According to Destination NSW’s analysis of the 2017 event, visitors spent $12.5 million during their visit, with about 85 per cent spent in Newcastle and the wider Hunter region.
The results confirm the event is on track to reach the projected visitation and economic impact targets of 81,000 overnight visitors and $57 million in visitor spend over five years.
Newcastle 500 has continued to provide widespread exposure for the city. This year’s event weekend recorded 344 media stories from Friday 22 to Sunday 24 November, reaching a combined domestic audience of more than 14 million people, with an estimated value of over $2 million. According to Supercars Australia the TV audience for Newcastle 500 peaked at more than 1.8 million viewers with an average of 1.3 million people tuning in to the three-day event.
“Three years in, the annual investment for the City to host the Newcastle 500 demonstrates the benefits to Newcastle and the region,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.
“The Newcastle 500 is the biggest event on the local calendar with significant benefit to the region.”