The inaugural Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines has surpassed all expectations, delivering $9.35 million in GDP to Auckland - more than double the forecast return on investment.
Mayor Len Brown today joined ATEED Chief Executive Brett O'Riley, Duco Events' David Higgins and Paul Kind from NRL to announce the economic impacts from the February event.
"The NRL Auckland Nines has blown away all its first year targets," says the Mayor. "It once again illustrates the value of major events to this city and proves that with the right concept and support Auckland can develop its own events with great outcomes."
"The 2014 event also resulted in more than 68,000 visitor nights and live television coverage was watched by more than 1 million viewers in Australia - one of our key tourism markets. It is the most successful two day event on Auckland's calendar."
In addition to being well attended by Aucklanders, the event attracted 16,000 Kiwis from around the country with more than 6,000 people making the trip across the Tasman. Visitors stayed in Auckland for an average of three nights.
"On top of the benefits to the visitor economy, we saw teams visiting local rugby league clubs and inspiring young players that may very well be tomorrow's NRL stars," says the Mayor.
"It's also worth reflecting that the tournament was held on the weekend of Rapture 2014: Eminem and Lantern Festival. It was the perfect illustration of Auckland coming of age as an exciting urban events destination."
ATEED Chief Executive Brett O'Riley says success like this can only be achieved through strong partnerships between event promoters as well as private and public sector partners.
"In this case Duco has brought a new concept to ATEED and NRL and the result is an innovative nine-a-side tournament that captured the public imagination generating benefits that easily surpassed the goals we set for it in year one."
"The $9,351,000 GDP impact is all the more impressive when you consider we forecast $3.8 million in year one rising to $6.8 million in year five."
Visitor nights were also more than double the year one target - 68,360 against a target of 32,877.
Of these, domestic visitor nights almost trebled expectations - 40,611 against a target of 13,190.
Mr O'Riley says while the NRL Nines generated 27,749 international visitor nights, comfortably ahead of the 19,687 target, the event's live television exposure in Australia could lead to a greater influx of international visitors next year.
This year's visitors and the enthusiastic uptake of event tickets by Aucklanders led to an attendance of approximately 45,000 people per day for the two day tournament at Eden Park, almost 10,000 up on crowd projections.
Mr O'Riley says ATEED is looking forward to working with Duco to make the NRL Nines even more successful over the remaining four years of its sponsorship.