The star-studded upcoming Black Caps vs India ODIs in Mount Maunganui will not only attract hordes of passionate fans – they will see the city featured in a travel series broadcast to 87 million people.
Tourism Bay of Plenty's Kath Low said the organisation last week hosted, in collaboration with New Zealand Cricket, a Star Sports India media crew travelling with the Indian team who were developing a feature about New Zealand, and the destinations in which India were playing.
The travel series is part of a lead-up to this year's Cricket World Cup and will be broadcast six months out.
Short film bursts, including 3D footage, will be shot during this weekend's ODIs.
"They [Star Sports] broadcast to 87 million people and have a Facebook following of 9.2 million. The potential exposure for the Bay of Plenty from opportunities such as this are significant," Low said.
As the Black Caps and India made their way to Tauranga yesterday for the second and third ODIs of the series, the staff at Bay Oval were putting the finishing touches on what has been a run-soaked batting paradise again this summer.
Saturday's likely soldout crowd will hope the picturesque Mount Maunganui ground continues to live up to that reputation.
New Zealand were thrashed in game one in Napier, bowled out for just 157, eventually losing by eight wickets with 85 balls remaining.
Paceman Lockie Ferguson, who picked up Indian captain and superstar Virat Kohli for 45 on Wednesday, said yesterday the Black Caps had looked at what went wrong and were "fizzing" for another chance.
He said they were looking to take their recent good form at Bay Oval into Saturday's match, and it wasn't only the batsmen who were eager for the return to the Mount.
"It's an exciting ground for one-day cricket I think. I've played a lot of one-day cricket and T20 cricket there and it's a very good batting wicket, which is exciting because sometimes with a wicket that's so batter-friendly, it can put some extra pressure on batters to score those runs."
There were more than 1300 runs scored in the two ODIs against Sri Lanka at Bay Oval earlier this month, both of which were won by the Black Caps.
Ferguson said he saw those kinds of conditions as a challenge and opportunity as a bowler.
"I've found that if you can build up pressure – three or four balls of pressure – then create a mistake … that's when we're in the hunt."
Bay Oval general manager Kelvin Jones said this week that turf manager Jared Carter had moved wickets for the two ODIs this weekend, which will be played on a different type of clay to the Sri Lankan matches.
Jones said this type of clay wicket had generally gone better in the past and played really well during the Under 19 Cricket World Cup games at Bay Oval last year.
However, he said it would be a "tough ask" for even more runs to be scored this weekend, considering the huge totals (371, 326, 319 and 298) seen earlier this month.
India are currently ranked second in the world in ODIs (the Black Caps are third) and began their New Zealand tour how they left their Australian one - winning in style and dominance.
As well as entertaining on the field, India bring an unmatchable star quality off it and, as a result, attract crowds of devoted and passionate fans.
Bay of Plenty Cricket Association chief executive Chris Rapson this week called them "superheroes".
"It's a very different world that these guys live in than what we live in. We're really fortunate that they're here."
He said the Indian players had loved coming to Mount Maunganui in the past, for the Under 19 Cricket World Cup and India A games.
"They like coming here because it's secure and they can be relatively anonymous and they have the freedom to move around.
"They love just being able to walk around as normal, it's like a breath of fresh air for them."
A long weekend of international cricket
What: Back-to-back Black Caps vs India ODIs
Where: Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui
When: Saturday and Monday, with both matches starting at 3pm
How: Tickets are on sale at ticketek.co.nz.