Wollongong will receive a $2 million shot in the arm later this year when 2500 competitors arrive in the city for the 2013 Eastern University Games.
The games, being hosted by the University of Wollongong for the first time since 2004, will attract students from universities across NSW and the ACT.
Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery officially launched the event yesterday, showing off his throwing arm with a lively game of frisbee.
The games, to be held from July 7 to 11, would be a great opportunity to showcase the city and gain new fans, Cr Bradbery said.
"Here's an opportunity for students to come from outside this region and see what we have to offer - not only in terms of the beauty and significance of this city as a tourist destination but post-graduate opportunities at this great university," he said.
"We have a world-class university here and this is our chance to showcase what we've got."
Destination Wollongong major events manager Jeremy Wilshire said the games would bring a timely economic benefit to the city - particularly for accommodation providers, eateries, retailers and attractions.
"We predict the Eastern University Games will inject at least $2 million into the local economy, which is a tremendous coup for the city given it will occur at a time of year when occupancy rates are traditionally low," he said.
"Also, there's the less tangible but equally important benefit that events such as this help enhance the perception of Wollongong among tertiary students, who represent an impressionable and influential demographic."
Last year's event in Tamworth attracted 2100 students and yielded a total of 9800 bed nights.
But Wollongong should exceed that, given how close the city is to Sydney and Canberra, he said.
Games project co-ordinator Rob Sheekey said that although the program usually included 17 sports, the Wollongong event would host an 18th.
Making the most of the region's coastal location, the games will be held in conjunction with the Australian University Championships surfing event.
Though the games will largely include traditional sports such as football and hockey, several lesser-known pursuits will also be on the program.
New sports this year were water polo, indoor cricket and Oztag, Mr Sheekey said.
"But we also run things that people probably haven't seen before, like AFL 9s, which is an abbreviated form of AFL football, and also ultimate frisbee."
The 2013 Eastern University Games is held alongside the Northern University Games and Southern University Games.
The events will culminate in the Australian University Games, to be held on the Gold Coast from September 29 to October 4.