Alice Springs Masters Games numbers below expectations

The Alice Springs Masters Games 2024 is counting down to its opening on October 12.

The 100-day countdown until the Alice Springs Masters Games has begun but low competitor and volunteer numbers are forcing organisers to weigh up its future.

With this year’s Opening Ceremony to take place at TIO Traeger Park on October 12 in partnership with Alice Springs Town Council, only 500 people have signed up to compete, massively down on the approximately 4,000 who participated in the previous event pre-pandemic.

Only 71 volunteers have signed thus far, well shy of the 500 or so needed to run the Games.

“There’s still a while to go, but it is less than we’d like to have,” NT Major Events Company chief executive Suzanna Bishop told the ABC.

Bishop said they were “fully committed” to delivering the 2024 Games, but it will be likely a smaller event.

“I think the question should be: ‘Is this a sustainable event moving forward?’ Because ultimately it is the people that tell us if they want an event by registering and attending, so that would be an exercise we’ll have to do at the end of the event,” she said.

The Masters Games is not the only event in Alice Springs facing an uncertain future with the organisers of the Henley on Todd Regatta pulling the pin on this year’s event.

The dry regatta was due to be held on August 17 on the Todd River in Alice Springs.

Commodore Lester Hamilton said funding issues and the lack of an event organiser were behind the cancellation.

“We haven’t received the funds, and we haven’t been able to recruit the event manager in time to deliver the event,” Lester told the NT News.

Major Events Minister Brent Potter said the decision to cancel was made by the Henley on Todd committee but the government still supported the event.

“The Northern Territory government strongly supports the Henley on Todd Regatta, investing $50,000 into the iconic event in 2024 while a three-year plan to continue delivering the event by Rotary Alice Springs is being finalised,” he said.