Sunshine Coast Lightning is preparing for its fourth consecutive Suncorp Super Netball finals' series, with the region set to host both SSN Semi Finals at USC Stadium this weekend.
The 2020 SSN Season's Queensland hub has provided increased national and international exposure to the Sunshine Coast region, hosting 16 matches across two months before finals.
The condensed season has seen Lightning and partners Sunshine Coast Council and Visit Sunshine Coast provide a tangible contribution to the ongoing COVID-19 recovery efforts in the region.
Lightning CEO Danielle Smith said the Club prides itself on community integration and bringing the world's premier netball competition to the Coast provided an unprecedented opportunity.
"As a community and a Club we have been confronted with unique challenges in 2020 but I'm proud of how everyone associated with Lightning has responded in the face of adversity, including our players,
staff, members, corporate partners, volunteers, fans and our owners Melbourne Storm and USC," Smith said.
"There is still so much uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and the long term impact to our sport and the Sunshine Coast region, however we will continue to play our role in the recovery efforts.
"This season more than ever, we've felt the support from our community and we will bring that passion and determination into the finals series, both on and off court, and hope to make our Members and fans proud."
Visit Sunshine Coast Interim CEO Craig Davidson wished the Sunshine Coast Lightning good luck ahead of the Major Semi Final this weekend after what has been a bumper year of netball on the Sunshine Coast.
"Since their debut in 2017 the Sunshine Coast Lightning have been truly outstanding ambassadors for the region, shining the spotlight on the Sunshine Coast as a healthy and wholesome destination for visitors," Mr Davidson said.
"That positive publicity has only grown this season as we welcomed additional Suncorp Super Netball teams to train and play on the Sunshine Coast, which also provided a welcome economic boost for local tourism operators and businesses.
"Hosting both Major Semi Finals this weekend at USC Stadium is a massive coup for the region and as proud partners of Sunshine Coast Lightning we look forward to cheering them on."
Lightning will compete in Saturday's sold out Major Semi Final against Minor Premiers Melbourne Vixens on Saturday from 1pm.
The Minor Semi Final between West Coast Fever and NSW Swifts will be played Sunday, with Sunshine Coast residents encouraged to embrace the opportunity to watch netball at the elite level.
Throughout the season a mix of the eight teams as well as league officials and umpires called the region home for extended periods of time as part of the SSN Queensland Hub.
In 2020 over 8,800 fans attended SSN games at USC Stadium despite COVID-19 restrictions forcing a maximum of 50% capacity, across 16 games and 6 double header matches.
All USC Stadium games were broadcast across Channel 9, Telstra TV and the Netball Live app, giving even more prominence to the facilities and the Coast.
Sunshine Coast will also play host to Netfest for a third consecutive year in November, with the four-day event expected to attract over 2,500 netballers to the region in another boost to the economy.