After a record-crowd at this week’s international women’s football fixture at McDonald Jones Stadium, attention has turned to the role Newcastle could play if Australia is successful in its 2023 Women’s World Cup bid.
Tuesday’s 3-2 win for the Matildas over Brazil attracted almost 17,000 people to the Broadmeadow stadium – a record for the Australian women’s national side on home turf.
Calls have ramped up for Newcastle to continue to hold major international sporting and entertainment events – with a sharp focus on the 2023 Women’s World Cup, should Australia be named the host nation.
“[Tuesday’s match] was so important,” Northern NSW Football CEO David Eland said.
“The community’s response to the game was phenomenal and I know, from talking to several members of the [Football Federation of Australia] senior management team, [Tuesday] reaffirmed that Newcastle is a great place to stage international fixtures.
“We should be at the forefront of any bid, to be a host city of the Women’s World Cup.”
Matches were held in Newcastle during the 2015 Asian Cup football tournament, which attracted a total of 48,554 people across four games. The Turton Road stadium also hosted a rugby league test match between Australia and New Zealand in 2016, which drew more than 27,000 punters.
The state government announced in July that it planned a major overhaul of the Broadmeadow sports and entertainment precinct.
NSW Sports Minister Stuart Ayres said the Matildas versus Brazil fixture showed Newcastle “certainly knows how to host a world class sporting event”. Mr Ayres said it was a priority to make sure Newcastle continued to attract high-quality events.
“We know once national and international visitors come to the Hunter for a major sporting or concert event they soon realise that amazing local beaches, the vineyards and Lake Macquarie are also right on their doorstep and are more likely to extend their stay,” he said.
Paul Doorn, chief executive of Venues NSW – which runs McDonald Jones Stadium – described the attendance at Tuesday’s match as “incredible”.