Owen Hembry

Owen Hembry is the business news editor of the New Zealand Herald

World Cup could earn over $1b for NZ, report says

The Rugby World Cup was expected to attract 95,000 international visitors. Photo / Brett Phibbs
The Rugby World Cup was expected to attract 95,000 international visitors. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Hosting the Rugby World Cup could deliver a billion-dollar boost to New Zealand, says MasterCard Worldwide.

Research commissioned by MasterCard, which is an official worldwide partner of the tournament, said economic activity from overseas visitors could total US$654 million ($799 million), including spending in bars, shops, attractions and by organisations on marketing in cities around matches.

The Rugby World Cup was expected to attract 95,000 international visitors.

The direct impact to the economy could be US$344 million when taking into account "substitution effects and time switching", the report said.

However, the longer-term impact from the tournament, including increased tourism, civic sponsorship and business development, was estimated at US$1.2 billion.

Dave Arthur, researcher at the Centre for the International Business of Sport at Coventry University in Britain, which prepared the report, said the tournament would stand out from its predecessors.

"This tournament will be like no other, it will attract stronger-than-ever interest across the world, which will in turn boost commercial interest in and activity around the event."

Scheduling across different nights with gaps between some major matches was likely to result in huge global television audiences, the report said.

"Later-than-traditional kick-off times coupled with increased halftime intervals will likely result in a higher advertising spend amongst brands and companies."

The estimated global television audience for the 48-match tournament was 4.2 billion people, compared with 230 million in 1987.

The report said one of the greatest opportunities a major sporting event could offer a country was the ability to display its unique offerings.

"Rugby World Cups in particular tend to be different to other major events such as the Fifa World Cup or Olympic Games in that they tend to be more about the overall experience than attending individual matches," the report said.

Total ticket sales, including domestic sales, were expected to reach 1.35 million and generate revenue of US$224.5 million for the organisers of the tournament.

Rugby New Zealand 2011 has forecast the World Cup would end with a loss of about $39 million.

IRB chief executive Mike Miller said the Rugby World Cup was one of the top three sporting events globally, and the largest this year.

"As the report underlines, it will drive significant economic activity around the globe and, in particular, in New Zealand, during the tournament and longer-term," Mr Miller said.

"We have no doubt the tournament will be spectacular and memorable. It is being contested in a nation that loves rugby and is ranked No 1 in the world, and [it] will be more competitive and unpredictable than ever."

- NZ Herald

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