WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand received a net economic benefit of NZ$109.5 million ($67.87 million) from co-hosting the Women’s World Cup with Australia earlier this year, according to a government impact evaluation report released on Friday.
The report said that 27,000 people visited the country during the June 20 to July 20 tournament and they spent more than NZ$80 million on accommodation, meals, transport and shopping.
Despite being better known for their enthusiasm for rugby, New Zealanders also embraced the tournament with more than 740,000 tickets issued for the 29 matches that were staged in Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton and Dunedin.
Although ticket sales were sluggish for some of the matches and FIFA gave away thousands of tickets, the record for a crowd for a football match in the country was surpassed three times at Auckland’s Eden Park.
Overall, the country received NZ$1.34 from every dollar invested in the tournament, the report said, and the total economic benefit was more than double what the government had expected.
“It was the largest and most successful women’s sporting event ever, exceeding expectations on and off the field,” said Kylie Hawker-Green, Major Events Manager at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
“It captured the hearts of the nation, elevated women’s football and sport more generally while cementing New Zealand’s global reputation as an exceptional major event host.”
The tournament generated more than $570 million for FIFA, enabling the global governing body to break even despite a big hike in prize money.
($1 = 1.6134 New Zealand dollars)
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney; Editing by Peter Rutherford)