International cricket is coming back to the Bay on New Year's Day, and the grounds manager says it will be "just magic."
The Black Caps will square off against Bangladesh in the Bay's first international cricket test since 2020.
The last test was on Boxing Day last year when the Black Caps defeated Pakistan by 101 runs.
Tomorrow's test is also the beginning of cricketing icon Ross Taylor's final test series for the Black Caps.
Trent Boult, superstar bowler for the team, said it had been a "big week" for Taylor.
"I'm sure the team and the fans will be excited to honour him," he said.
Boult was born in the Bay and said playing here is particularly meaningful for him.
"Christmas is always a special time, and to be here preparing to play a test match in front of my family and friends on New Year's Day - it doesn't get any better."
He praised the Bay Oval as a top-quality venue.
"We've seen some cracking contests here in the past.
"The team at Bay Oval always do a great job getting the venue ready."
Despite his happiness to be in the Bay, he said Bangladesh "will certainly be motivated to spoil the party".
"I hope the locals will get around us."
Bay Oval general manager Kelvin Jones said while some fans were waiting until the last minute to book after a year of cancellations, the attendance would be strong.
"We're expecting a really strong walk-up tomorrow," he said. "It'll be a pretty solid crowd come game time tomorrow."
He said the match brings broadcasters, players, support staff, and fans.
"There's a direct economic benefit from that sort of thing."
"This goes to a huge worldwide audience. It's a real opportunity to showcase Tauranga - five days of magic images heading out to the world of the Mount and beyond.
"It's just magic."
He said it was always special to have the Black Caps come to town, particularly with many Bay-born players on the team.
"We don't see a lot of national teams playing in Tauranga of any description, so this is a great one for us."
He rated New Zealand's chances highly against Bangladesh.
"Watching the New Zealand team train the last few days, I think they're definitely up for this.
"My prediction is a win for New Zealand, for sure."
He said Covid-19 had cost the oval their biggest cricket game ever, a sold-out match against Australia that had to be cancelled.
"It's nice to get back on the horse and get some crowds back. It's just nice to offer something that people can get out and go and see.
"It's a great opportunity to get back out there."
"Hopefully we set the scene for a big summer."
A Spark Sport spokeswoman said their commentary team would be broadcasting live from the Bay Oval.
"We don't have an indication of the number of expected viewers, but anticipate it will be a great day of cricket."
Mark Richardson, Katey Martin, Grant Elliot, Brendon McCullum, Craig McMillan and Frankie McKay would be on commentary.
Loretta Crawford, head of destination marketing at Tourism Bay of Plenty, said the test was generating a lot of excitement.
She said visitor data revealed the busiest time of last summer coincided with last year's Boxing Day test.
"The stunning location and facility of the Bay Oval and its hosting of the Black Caps vs Bangladesh tests are a huge drawcard for tourists and locals alike.
"It really showcases the best of Tauranga and Mount Maunganui."
She said visitor numbers to the Bay are expected to peak between now and January 3, and the busy season is "much welcomed by our operators and community alike."
"We are encouraging everyone to continue to get out, explore, and support local."