Whangarei businesses earned a staggering $6.2 million on the day the British and Irish Lions played at Toll Stadium, and one tourism leader says the final figure could be about $10m.

An economic impact and benefits analysis of the series done by PricewaterhouseCoopers shows direct and indirect tourism benefits to Whangarei was $5.7m while another $500,000 came from hosting and leverage.

The financial windfall information relates to June 3 - the day the Lions played the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians in the tour opener.

Overall, New Zealand earned $194m from the Lions' series.


Whangarei District Council economic development manager Peter Gleeson said the $6.2m excluded rugby fans who came a day or two before the match and explored Northland before and after the series.

"Whangarei has proven to the Government and to Sport New Zealand it can successfully host major events. Lions' fans are renowned for having a good time so it's a great result for Whangarei."

Mr Gleeson said the council would bid to host major sporting events in future, especially international fixtures, provided they contributed significantly to the local economy.

The council invested $250,000 into the Lions' tour opener, but expected an economic windfall for the district.

Each visitor spent $222 on game day in Whangarei.

That sum consisted of $63 at Toll Stadium, $42 at restaurants, bars and cafes, $38 in accommodation, car hire was $20, public transport and domestic airfares $16 each, retail shopping and excursions $11 each.

PwC said 9098 tickets to the Whangarei match were bought by Northlanders, 6660 by fans from other New Zealand regions, and 1208 by overseas visitors.

That was equivalent to 16,162 additional guest nights in Whangarei.


Rugby fans also visited the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Whangarei Matariki Whanau Festival, Footprints Waipoua, Taku Ahi- Maori Arts and Artists, Black Boot Legends Gallery and Taiamai Tours.

Northland tourism leader Jeroen Jongejans described an income of $6.2m in just one day as "staggering" but said the figure could be as high as $10m if spending from the Far North and Kaipara were considered.

"It's brilliant and shows international events are a significant contributor to our economy. The better we can do the better for Whangarei."

PwC collected expenditure data relating to hosting the series and international and domestic tourism from fans who attended the matches.

This was completed with three surveys (two series specific surveys and one additional screener question in the international visitor survey) and direct correspondence with New Zealand Rugby Union and host cities.

Auckland hosted three matches, including two test matches, and earned $67.9m— the most of all host cities. Whangarei earned the least.