BALLARAT City Council has spent almost $800,000 to host the city’s first series of ironman events.
The Ironman 70.3 event, which the council confirmed it had secured last month, comes at a cost of more than $250,000 each year.
But the council said the economic benefit to the city would far outweigh the cost.
The first event is scheduled for November 16 and will cost the city $250,000, while the 2015 event will cost $262,500 and the 2016 event $275,625.
It is touted as being as big as the cycling championships in Buninyong and is expected to draw more than 1400 competitors. City of Ballarat general manager of city strategy Natalie Reiter said the event’s benefit to the city would be “significant”.
“It does sound like a lot of money,” Ms Reiter said.
“But that’s the market rate to attract events to any city and if another town had been successful in getting this event that’s what they would have paid.”
Ms Reiter said it was part of the strategy to establish Ballarat as the “capital of the west”, adding Ballarat needed such major events to do so.
A major ironman event, it joins other world class events held in Ballarat including the Road National Cycling Championships and the World Rowing Masters Regatta.
The Courier understands the cycling championships, held each January in Buninyong, costs the city more than $300,000 a year.
Ms Reiter said Channel 7 was a major sponsor of Ironman 70.3, adding the event might receive live television coverage.
Ballarat Regional Tourism chief executive officer George Sossi said the cost was a small investment for what would be a large return.
“In the first year alone we’re expecting more than 1400 competitors, so by the time you add family and friends, we could expect anywhere between five and 10,000 people,” he said.
“The economic impact will be in the millions of dollars.”
The event will feature iconic Ballarat locations including a 1.9-kilometre swim in Lake Wendouree, a 90km cycle along Remembrance Drive under the Arch of Victory and a 21.1km half-marathon run about the lake district.