Rugby World Cup creates 'economic legacy' for NZ – marketing boss

Rob Mills

The flow-on effects from last year’s Rugby World Cup keep on coming, with almost two-thirds of surveyed business owners expecting the tournament to still create new opportunities for growth.

Already the cup has been credited for a slew of positive economic results.

And now, new information exclusively revealed to NBR ONLINE shows New Zealand and its business owners are still benefiting from the cup.

Global sports and entertainment marketing consultant Gemba has released the survey which was completed earlier this year. 

Every year, it polls around 12,000 people on their sports and entertainment preferences.

This survey shows 61% of respondents agreed hosting the tournament would have a positive effect on the economy, while 65% of business owners and those self-employed felt the cup would create more opportunities into the future for local business.

The survey of 1000 people asked three questions:

  • Please indicate whether you think New Zealand hosting the 2011 Rugby World Cup will have a positive effect on the New Zealand economy.
  • Please indicate whether you agree that New Zealand hosting the 2011 Rugby World Cup will create opportunities for local businesses
  • Please indicate whether you think New Zealand hosting the 2011 Rugby World Cup will improve the image of New Zealand internationally.

The survey asked respondents to rank their answer from one to five. It then broke the responses into various groups: male and female; those in the age brackets 16-24, 25-44 and 45-64; business managers and executives; and business owners.

The survey showed 61% of business managers polled were confident hosting the cup would bring new opportunities – that figure was slightly down on the total result. Just 3% of owners felt the cup would not bring any further opportunities.

Males were marginally less optimistic than females in all three categories and it appears the older the respondent, the more positive they were about the effects of hosting the cup.

The final question around the international image of New Zealand included results from European and Maori respondents. In that question, exactly two-thirds of Maori agreed the cup would improve the country’s image but just 62% of Europeans felt the same way.

Australian-based director of Gemba Rob Mills told NBR ONLINE his company has increasingly been looking at the effects post-Rugby World Cup. He says there was an obvious boost to tourism, retail spending and visitor stays.

But he says they have been developing what he calls "economic legacy" figures.

“What we can start seeing is the propensity to travel to New Zealand from markets such as the UK and Australia, which are key tourism markets for New Zealand. Anyone who is a rugby fan, their preparedness to travel to New Zealand went up. Anybody who is a rugby fan, their awareness of New Zealand cities went up.”

Mr Mills says Gemba is interested in the sustainable or long-term benefits which have resulted from the event. “The Rugby World Cup was a ripper.”

He has labels sport generally as "recession-proof". He says during the recession, they still saw people going to events but also a lift in pay-TV numbers and, especially in Australia, the figures held up exceptionally well.

People were becoming nervous about spending too much and instead of heading out for the evening would stay at home and watch television.

He believes sport in New Zealand is in a very healthy state, and one of the reasons for that is government investment in the sector.

“There’s an increasing recognition of sport in areas such as economic impact and social capital issues. The ability for sport to address things such as obesity, multi-culturalism and depression is on the rise. So we see health departments investing more [in sport] and the economic and tourism guys investing more as well.”

Mr Mills says the key to capitalising on the effects of the cup is to continue looking for new opportunities to broaden appeal internationally.

He praises Wellington’s recent decision to host an Australian Football League match in the capital – the first time in the code’s 150-year history a match has been played outside Australia.

Wellington councillors expect a packed Westpac Stadium and up to 10,000 Australians in the city for the Anzac Day 2013 game.

Those figures would result in a direct financial injection of $8 million into the economy, even before the downstream benefits are calculated.

“Well done to Wellington – it’s a really important strategy,” Mr Mills says.

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3 Comments & Questions

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I'm pretty sure that the afl people tried a game in AKL at Western Springs maybe 10 odd yrs ago
I think only about 7000 turned up - prob just Ozzies.

I am sure they did a game there.

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What rubbish. How does asking people 'what they think' about a subject actually reflect genuine outcomes? Look at proper data ie visitor numbers, spending - not this meaningless claptrap.

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And Eden Park is indebted to the sum of $55 million, stuck with a ginormous albino elephant.

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