NSW Touch Association has warned a handful of Wagga motels who continue to drastically hike their prices during the Junior State Cup Southern Conference are putting the long term future of the event in the city at risk.
The event, which attracts over 200 teams and injects an estimated $3 million into the local economy, will complete a three year deal when it is held at Jubilee Park next month.
Although rapt with the venue and council, a minority of accommodation houses 'price gouging' has long been a concern for NSWTA general manager Dean Russell.
Wagga City mayor Greg Conkey felt compelled to write a letter to local accommodation houses last year, asking them to take a long term view and help their goal of renewing the contract.
Russell said the fact a decision hasn't been made on hosting rights going forward was "purely down to COVID", but reaffirmed price gouging could affect Wagga's hopes.
"We're extremely happy with the venue, we're extremely happy with the association and the council. What we're concerned about is there are accommodation houses in the area who purely and simply don't get it," he said.
"I had some info this week about one particular place. The weekend before the event they're charging $157 a room and the weekend of the event $400, which to me is outrageous.
"If I'm being honest, that type of behaviour does put the event at risk."
Russell said the association had shown their willingness to stay loyal to one venue, if everyone plays their part, with the Senior State Cup held at Port Macquarie for over three decades.
"The accommodation houses only need to look at our history. Our senior state cup has been held at Port Macquarie for 32 years," he said.
"That's guaranteed income to the accommodation industry for three decades, they got it right from the start.
"If you said it went from $150 to $180 everyone understands it, but to go from $150 to $400 is taking the mickey out of everyone.
"They're trying to make the sun shine now, but they're putting future income for themselves at risk."
COVID protocols means the Junior State Cup will be run far differently from February 26-28.
Only 3000 players, officials and spectators are allowed at the venue at any one time, meaning teams will play three games consecutively before being asked to leave the venue, while only one parent per player is allowed.
"We're going to lose about 13 hours worth of play, but it's either do it this way or don't do the event at all," Russell said.
"We recognise it will create difficulty for parents who have more than one child participating, especially if they could be playing in different sections of the day.
"The main reason around that (no decision on future venues) is simply the impact of COVID. Initially we thought we'd eventually be back to normal, but 12 months on we're not and we don't know when we will be.
"We need to take stock of the event and think about how we deliver it in the future. As soon as we finish the state cup we will review it."
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