THE Fifa U-20 World Cup may have come to an end in Whangarei but the international event has set a precedent for things to come, local organisers say.
With four matches, 360 minutes of live football action and thousands of spectators gracing the grounds at the Northland Events Centre over the course of the tournament, Local Organising Committee (LOC) venue general manager John Lynch said Fifa officials were pleased with the standard of entertainment at the Whangarei venue.
"Operationally it was superb - [it was] the best event in the five years we've been here at the stadium," Lynch said.
"From a Whangarei perspective, they [Fifa officials] were pleased with the family atmosphere.
"I've had a lot to do with the rugby league and rugby crowds and it looked to be very family based - an entirely different part of the community came along."
This has left a lasting mark on the city, according to Northland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Tony Collins.
"Whangarei has been broadcast to the world, which isn't a bad thing," he said. "I think the biggest value is the legacy and long-term values.
"[It's] improved Whangarei's reputation as a city for international events."
Collins said sectors from hospitality right through to security would have benefited from the spike in activity.
While the initial direct economic benefits were thought to be minor, "at least it provides the platform for business" in future.
In comparison to previous large-scale sporting events staged in the city - such as Rugby World Cup matches in 2011, an Olympic football qualifier and last year's Rugby League Four Nations match - a similar degree of organisation was implemented for the Fifa U-20 World Cup.
"Nothing was left to chance," Lynch said. As a result of the smooth operating procedures, the Northland Events Centre averaged crowds in the "mid-60 per cent range" throughout the tournament. This compared well with venues around the country.
"What was interesting was that we were outstripping everyone in regard to fullness," Lynch said.
"What it really shows is that we can punch above our weight."
Now that the remaining World Cup activity moved to other host cities around New Zealand, Lynch said it would be back to " business as usual" for many local operators.
As of yesterday afternoon, 90 per cent of the Northland Events Centre set-up had been packed down.
The next sporting events to take place at the stadium are division two rugby finals and premier club rugby finals in July.