Auckland has been named the third best sporting city in the world at the prestigious SportBusiness Ultimate Sports Cities Awards.
At an awards ceremony in Turkey, Auckland was ranked alongside the iconic international sporting cities London and Melbourne, who placed first and second respectively, and Copenhagen and Calgary who ranked fourth and fifth.
Auckland also scooped the title for the top medium sized sporting city in the world ahead of Paris, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai and Copenhagen, and won the categories for best event legacy, security and homegrown event for the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines.
Between 2011 and 2013 Auckland's ambitious Major Events Strategy stimulated a 35 per cent increase in GDP impact for Auckland – growing from a $28.9 million return in 2011/12 to $39.1 million in 2012/13. Over that time Auckland's major events portfolio generated 514,000 visitor nights for Auckland.
These results are consistently ahead of target, and Auckland is on track to generate the anticipated GDP impact of $49 million per annum by 2016.
Auckland Mayor Len Brown says these amazing accolades reinforce Auckland's global reputation for hosting international sporting events.
"Cities are independently nominated for these awards and the winning cities are chosen not just for staging fantastic events, but also for their quality of life, transport and infrastructure. In this way our events are truly showcasing Auckland as one of the world's most liveable cities."
"Events can play a pivotal role in helping to transform a city. We have a very clear vision to build Auckland into a great major events destination, and these awards support the Auckland Major Events Strategy set out to achieve this vision," he says.
SportBusiness Ultimate Sports City Head Judge Rachael Church-Sanders said impressive new entrant Auckland has excelled in the 2014 awards.
"Auckland has a number of qualities which made it a strong candidate in the rankings including a clearly defined major events strategy, a highly engaged sports-mad public and the ability to host world-class events against a stunning backdrop of natural beauty. The city's successful hosting of the 2011 IRB Rugby World Cup put Auckland on the event hosting map and it has continued to raise the bar when it comes to building a major events calendar," she says.
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) Chief Executive Brett O'Riley says these awards mark several years of hard work and focus for Auckland.
"Accolades like this can only be delivered with strong support from our public and private sector partners, particularly Auckland Council and Central Government. Through their support our Major Events Strategy is delivering concrete economic growth for the city."
Auckland has just completed a successful summer of major sporting events and is building up for a bumper year in 2015 – reinforcing that the show never stops in Auckland.
This summer Auckland has hosted the highly successful inaugural Nines, the Heineken Open and ASB Classic tennis events, Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championships and the Barfoot & Thompson World Triathlon Auckland. This month sees the city host the SKYCITY NZ Badminton Open and the ITM 500 Auckland (V8 Supercars).
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