Rugby World Cup brings $150m of trade deals

By Elizabeth Binning

The Webb Ellis Cup. Photo / Paul Estcourt
The Webb Ellis Cup. Photo / Paul Estcourt

The Rugby World Cup is believed to have generated $150 million in international business deals for Auckland - and the benefits are expected to start rolling in over the next few months.

More than 40 "commercially important people" travelled to New Zealand during the event - including Sir Richard Branson and international investor Michael Bianco as well as fund managers, investors and chief executives from major organisations.

As a result, $150 million of deals are now estimated to be in the pipeline for Auckland, the first of which is expected to be finalised in March.

That is despite only 9 per cent of local businesses saying they thought the event was beneficial - a huge drop from 89 per cent hoping for benefits in a pre-tournament survey.

According to the interim findings of the NZ2011 Business Club survey, overseas businesses are seeking 71 deals with Auckland-based companies.

A further 21 international companies or businesspeople are looking to buy, set up or invest in Auckland businesses as a result of their time here.

Details of business opportunities were also outlined in The Rugby World Cup 2011: Evaluation Report, released yesterday by the Auckland Council. However, the report also stated many local business owners felt ripped off.

"With 107,000 additional visitors in Auckland over the period, the low reporting of positive effects by business may be a reflection of an uneven spread of benefits," said the report.

A survey in December last year of 500 businesses found 83 per cent thought the World Cup would have a positive impact for them. But when surveyed again afterwards, only 8.9 per cent felt it had been beneficial.

The hospitality sector and larger businesses tended to reap the benefits more than retail or small businesses.

Auckland Council chief executive Doug McKay said the economic benefits were always going to be important.

"The report shows a number of Auckland businesses don't believe they have benefited directly from RWC 2011 and it suggests that is because benefits have not been spread evenly."

However, the NZ2011 Business Club survey found 42 per cent of businesses had significant leads to follow up in the next three months as a result of contacts made during the tournament.

Of the 71 trade opportunities, 17 were in the marine sector, 10 in biosecurity, 13 in food and beverage and 13 in IT. There were also numerous opportunities in screen, aviation, creative and agribusiness sectors. Many were coming from Australia, Asia, the US, Europe and South Africa.

- NZ Herald

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