This year's NZCT AIMS Games in Tauranga reached an international audience, following the move to live stream many of the 21 sporting codes and provide daily video highlights.
Figures released today showed 502,775 views of the live stream feed of the annual intermediate-aged tournament last week, which attracted 9300 athletes from 275 schools.
Included in those figures were more than 7500 views from both the United States and Australia, 3100 from Britain and significant numbers from Canada, South Africa, the Philippines, Germany, Singapore and Italy.
"The beauty of the internet means it's very easy to access live streaming from anywhere in the world," tournament director Vicki Semple said.
"We had reports of businessmen leaving meetings to watch their sons' live-streamed football matches in Hong Kong, and family members tuning in from Europe. That gives us the potential to reach well beyond our own borders, showcasing our city to potential visitors anywhere in the world."
This year's tournament featured a number of Rio Olympians, including canoe slalom's Luuka Jones, sailing siblings Sam and Molly Meech and BMX star Trent Jones. It started on the Sunday and carried through until Friday, when the majority of codes had their finals.
The live streaming was provided by NZSport.TV. The tournament also featured a daily highlights show, produced by Sports Inc Ltd and hosted by The Hits presenter Will Johnston, attracting more than 85,000 views at last count.
The AIMS Games website - www.nzaimsgames.co.nz - was also inundated, well on the way to 3million hits over the weekend. There have already been 700,000 more hits than the whole of 2015, with 97,000 page visits, up from 39,000 last year.
Semple believes the potential for growth is enormous.
"We've already started planning for next year and I've advised anyone wanting accommodation to start locking it in soon. Many local retailers are telling us AIMS week is now bigger than New Year in the city, which is extraordinary. Tauranga has traditionally been a sleepy seaside city which comes alive over summer; the AIMS Games is proving there's so much more to offer, at all times of the year."
Next year's AIMS Games will be a week later, running from September 10-15.
- supplied by AIMS Games