NZ to fall further behind rest of world for sporting events due to Auckland Council cuts

David Long is Senior Sports Reporter at Stuff

OPINION: In recent months, New Zealand sports fans have enjoyed Sail GP, Hamilton Sevens and ASB Classic, while there’s the Fifa Women’s World Cup to look forward to, but the country is nearing a sporting wasteland when it comes to Events are big.

Tātaki Auckland Unlimited, an arm of Auckland Council, released data last week showing Auckland’s economy received a $38.2 million boost from a series of sporting and cultural events between September and February.

Rally New Zealand, which was part of the World Rally Championships, attracted 92.9 million spectators, generated a total of 25,860 new visitor nights for Auckland’s accommodation sector and US$6.5 million in visitor spend, including US$2.9 million from international traveler.

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The Rugby World Cup brought an estimated US$16.6 million to the region’s economy, including US$4.9 million in spending for international visitors.

Despite the terrible weather, the January ASB Classic had 90,100 participants, a global television audience of 13.9 million, 1500 international visitors and a positive positive impact on Auckland’s GDP of US$15.2 million.

Whether in Auckland or the rest of the country, sport is good for the economy as the figures above show.

Last year's Rally New Zealand brought the country worldwide attention.

Alan Lee/Fotosport

Last year’s Rally New Zealand brought the country worldwide attention.

Not only that, but sporting events also make New Zealand a good place to live, breaking the monotony of everyday life.

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Due to Covid-19, New Zealand has seen a large number of sporting events in a short space of time, with the Rugby World Cup and Rally NZ being postponed from their original dates. But the closet will soon become very empty.

Rally NZ is off the WRC schedule, the Hamilton Sevens are gone and Supercars have pulled New Zealand off the schedule for lack of a suitable venue.

Yes, the ASB Classic still takes place, but the lack of a roof impacts the long-term sustainability of the tournament.

Top players will be increasingly reluctant to sign up for New Zealand as climate change makes them more likely to play indoor court games in front of a handful of people rather than preparing for the Australian Open. in the sun, in Australia.

Other countries have grasped the idea that the best way to spur economic recovery and lift spirits in a post-Covid world is to secure major sporting events, and the price of doing so has risen.

At a time when less money will be earmarked for sporting events in Auckland if the council’s proposal goes through, Australian states are looking to boost tourist numbers, with New South Wales providing $530 million and Queensland another 48.2 $100 million per year already confirmed, Victoria spent an additional $152 million over four years beginning in 2020 and a $20 million reinvestment in its Regional Event Fund.

South Australia has more than doubled its Event Bid Fund over four years to total funding of US$90 million.

Not only is this money for major sporting events, some of it is being used in this way and New Zealand continues to lag behind.

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Auckland is, whether you like it or not, the best place in this country to hold major events due to its population and nothing is in the pipeline.

Tātaki Auckland Unlimited, which is tasked with enriching cultural and economic life in Auckland and is the organization pumping money into sporting events in the region, faces a $27.5 million budget cut under the Auckland Council’s proposal opposite, which exceeds $17 million, the agency has already been asked to cut its budget.

Securing top international sporting events takes years of work, from budgeting to the application process.

Hardly any of that is happening right now, and if these cuts are implemented, it’s even less likely to happen.

Trying to save money by not bringing sporting events to Auckland – and New Zealand – is short-sighted.

To be fair this issue isn’t just affecting Auckland Council, Major Events New Zealand has been very quiet about any financial aid it could give to Rally NZ.

Regardless of the long-term financial benefits, sport unites a nation like nothing else. Just think back to when the country stopped at Eden Park last year to witness the Black Ferns win the World Championship.

These moments threaten to be a thing of the past in this country.

So enjoy the Fifa Women’s World Cup everyone because not much will happen after that.

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