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It is billed as a major party for Wellington and said to be worth $16 million to the economy.
The first pool games in the world rugby sevens tournament are under way at Westpac Stadium – so far today packed with empty seats – with the finals being played tomorrow.
It is the first of a couple of big sporting earners this year for Wellington city council, with the city playing host to the country’s first Australian Football League match on Anzac Day.
Sports and events councillor John Morrison says the sevens weekend is usually worth between $15 million and $16 million to the economy.
“That’s principally made up of money coming from outside the region as 40-50% of the 70,000-plus crowd comes from outside the region,” Mr Morrison, a former BlackCap’s test batsman, told NBR ONLINE.
“I think it has a lot of spinoffs for Wellington. It paints Wellington in a great light. Also, the sevens has risen in profile and we can only see it growing from here. You can feel the hype in the air, all around town.”
He says costumes these days are the norm for the event – so much so, people look strange if they turn up in plain clothes.
A quick look around town saw fans dressed as Lego men, Adams and Eves, belly dancers, Fred Dagg, pavlovas, Reno 911 fans, Life (or love) savers and little red riding hoods.
The Anzac Day AFL match between the St Kilda Saints and Sydney Swans is expected to give an $8 million direct injection.
Mr Morrison expects at least 10,000 Australian fans to visit for the game.