By Grant Chapman

World Masters Games 2017 has announced an $831,000 surplus that will be returned to participating sports through grants.

The 10-day festival also exceeded targets for GDP earnings and visitor nights, both in Auckland and nationally, while emerging better than expectations in satisfaction surveys among participants and local residents.

Games chairman Sir John Wells said the event, which attracted 28,578 participants, proved New Zealand could deliver a complex major event with "imagination and operational excellence" and the surplus resulted largely from organisational efficiencies, namely operational savings and overachieving commercial targets.

Advertisement

"When delivering an event of the complexity of WMG2017, it is necessary to reserve a Games-time contingency to cater for any situation or eventuality," said Sir John.

"As it happens, we experienced virtually no issues at all."

The Games had an operating budget of $35.9 million dollars, with $13.1 million from commercial partnerships and registration fees, and the rest from central ($11 million) and local government ($11.75 million).

As a limited liability company with tax-exempt status, WMG2017 was required to invest any surplus back into its community - in this case, amateur sport.

"Back in 2013, I can honestly say that neither I nor our board thought we would deliver a surplus," said chief executive Jennah Wootten.

"We were always working very, very hard to achieve a balanced budget, so this is a dream scenario. We were declared the best Games ever, exceeded the KPIs set for us and we leave a surplus for amateur sport as a great legacy.

Jennah Wootten, chief executive of the 2017 World Masters Games. Photo/Greg Bowker
Jennah Wootten, chief executive of the 2017 World Masters Games. Photo/Greg Bowker

"We're absolutely thrilled to give something back to the organisations that supported us in delivering such a flawless Games."

The surplus will be held and administered by Games partner ATEED, and the 28 competing sports will be invited to apply for funding. Criteria have yet to be finalised.

Advertisement

Other highlights of the WMG2017 results include:

•Auckland GDP of $34.2 million, compared to $30.8 million target

•Auckland visitor nights of 241,480, compared to 224,000 target

•NZ GDP of $63 million, compared to $52.3 million target

•NZ visitor nights of 302,509, compared to 266,190 target

•Participant satisfaction of 89 percent, compared to 85 percent target

•Auckland resident satisfaction of 91 percent, compared to 85 percent target

"We exceeded all KPIs set for us, without exception, which was a fantastic result, particularly with the challenges we had with the accommodation sector," reflected Wootten.

"We knew going into the Games that we had exceeded the participant target, but we were curious to see how our GDP numbers would stack up."

The next edition of the World Masters Games is scheduled for Kansai, Japan, from May 15-30, 2021.