New Zealand converts rugby World Cup into economic gains

Wednesday, 26 December 2012
By David Owen

All Blacks celebrate winning 2011 Rugby World CupDecember 26 - An independent assessment of the short-term economic impact of last year's rugby union World Cup in New Zealand has indicated that the tournament sustained the equivalent of more than 20,000 jobs for one year.

The analysis, prepared for the New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development by consultants Market Economics (ME) in conjunction with Gravitas and Sapere Research Group, also put the net economic impact of the competition over the 2006-2012 period at around NZ$1.73 billion (£875 million/$1.41 billion/€1.07 billion).

The assessment noted, however, that this economic impact, which is expressed in 2007 New Zealand dollars, would be offset in the longer term by "the repayment of loans used to fund the capital development projects required to deliver the tournament, or future reduced spending by both Government and businesses in response to their spending on [World Cup] related activities".

The country's overall gross domestic product (GDP) was worth more than US$140 billion (£870 million/€106 billion) in 2010; its population is about 4.4 million.

The competition - won by the host All Blacks after a tense final against France at Auckland's Eden Park - attracted more than 133,000 international visitors to New Zealand, nearly twice initial estimates.

Rugby World Cup 2011Twice as many fans as estimated from overseas attended the 2011 Rugby World Cup

Results of the analysis are included in a report – "The Stadium of Four Million" – which details the country's experience of running the tournament.

This included having to move matches away from Christchurch following the earthquake of February 2011.

Producing such a record was a requirement of New Zealand's hosting agreement with the International Rugby Board (IRB).

Lessons learnt while staging rugby union's showpiece event should help as the sports-loving nation prepares to host future international competitions, such as the 2015 cricket World Cup, to be held in Australia and New Zealand, and the Under-20 FIFA World Cup, also in 2015.

The 2015 rugby World Cup is to be held in England.

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