The Newcastle 500 has cemented its place as one of the city's most anticipated events on the sporting calendar and is set to return from 4-6 March 2022 following a two-year hiatus. The event will bring a welcome boost to our local economy and COVID-hit tourism industry, with a Hunter Research Foundation Centre report finding the inaugural event boosted the local economy to the tune of $30 million! The event also strengthened the city's capacity to host major events which is promising news for the upcoming event.
We know our city is one of the best in the world, and Newcastle 500 gives us the perfect platform to share just how fantastic it is. Newcastle provides a stunning backdrop to the world-famous race enabling spectacular shots of Supercars racing on the CBD street circuit, while ships sail in the background. These incredible images are embedded in the minds of tens of millions of motor racing fans around the world, putting Newcastle on the map as a world-class destination.
The inaugural race in 2017 attracted a crowd of more than 190,000, with visitors spending over $12.5 million in the region. In 2018, Newcastle Airport announced a record number of passengers arriving on the first day of the event and Supercars set a record-breaking year in viewing audiences across television and digital platforms for the Newcastle 500. In 2019, the Newcastle 500 drew 154,000 people through the gates over the three-day event and brought the community together providing a platform to raise money for charitable causes. More than $27,000 was raised at the City’s annual Fort Scratchley event for Got Your Back Sista and Nova for Women and Children, in addition to $35,000 raised for bushfire affected communities by Fox Sports and local artist Mitch Revs.
The event brings opportunities for Newcastle businesses and residents alike, and there's always something for everyone across the Newcastle 500 weekend. Each year local businesses have been invited to 'dress up and rev up' to show their support for the Newcastle 500 event. We've had bars bedecked in chequered flags and event posters, bottle shops sporting balloons and bunting, and even a day care centre with decorations custom-made by their kids. It's great to see the businesses of the city jumping on board and getting involved, only adding to the build of the atmosphere.
In 2018, Residents were invited to enjoy four days of festivities across the inner city as part of the Entertain Newcastle Festival. The festival was for all residents and visitors to the city, not just race-goers, and appealed to foodies, families, and funsters, aiming to stretch the high-octane atmosphere beyond the race precinct, activating Cooks Hill, Hamilton, Hunter Street Mall and Civic Park.
In 2019, City of Newcastle launched Enjoy Newcastle, a program of free events and activities to create a festival atmosphere in the city centre over the Newcastle 500 event. Hunter Street Mall was abuzz with billy cart challenges, pop-up shops, family-friendly activities and live entertainment. It was a great opportunity for locals to see what’s on offer in the mall and for event goers to step outside the precinct and get a taste of local life.
The entertainment continued at Civic Park throughout the weekend with a super-sized Newcastle-themed monopoly board, monster truck slide, jumping castles, obstacle course and an auto-race simulator. There was also a dedicated under-six play area and an adrenalin-rush obstacle course suited to both big kids and adults. International superstars KISS also performed at No.1 Sportsground, supported by local rockers The Screaming Jets, led by original front man Dave Gleeson.
The Newcastle 500 promises to deliver just as much punch in 2022, so stay tuned for more details on what might be the biggest and best event to add to your calendar next year!