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Events contribute almost $50 million to Auckland’s economy over summer

Events contribute almost $50 million to Auckland’s economy over summer
March 23, 2023

Newly released data from Auckland Council shows that the city’s economy received a $38.2 million boost from a number of sporting and cultural events between September and February.

Alongside the excitement and spirit-raising benefits that the live events delivered for a region recovering from challenging times, it also hosted business events worth nearly $10 million to the regional economy.

Three top global events between September last year and January also put the international focus squarely on Auckland, and between them captured an estimated 110 million viewers who witnessed top motorsport, rugby union and tennis.

Last September, the Rally of New Zealand, part of the FIA World Rally Championship - which included exciting stages at the Auckland Domain and in the Rodney & Franklin districts plus a hub for fans and participating teams in the Wynyard Quarter precinct - attracted a viewership of 92.9 million, generated 25,860 total new visitor nights for Auckland’s accommodation sector and visitor expenditure of $6.5 million, including $2.9 million by international travellers.

In November, Rugby World Cup 2021 (played in 2022) injected an estimated $16.6 million into the region’s economy, including $4.9 million international visitor expenditure. The tournament brought nearly 71,000 new visitor nights.

January’s ASB Classic tennis was hampered by the rainy summer weather, but still recorded 16,490 new visitor nights for the region, and injected $3.4 million into the economy, including $1 million international tourism spend.

These events were strongly supported by Aucklanders too, attracting a total of 90,000 Aucklanders and 39,000 domestic and international visitors.

All three events were invested in by the region’s economic development agency Tātaki Auckland Unlimited (TAU), on behalf of Auckland Council, with Auckland branding and location coverage secured as part of worldwide broadcast coverage.

TAU Head of Major Events, Chris Simpson, says the impact of events on locals and visitors cannot be dismissed, commenting “it sends a strong message that Aucklanders and visitors want more of this but as we highlighted last October, a strong events portfolio is only possible through funding and multiple revenue streams. You cannot put a price on the impact of events - from social and wellness benefits to job creation, and more.”

Cultural festivals
Auckland's Diwali and Pasifika festivals bookended the summer events season, delivered in-person, in full and on location for the first time since the pandemic. Last weekend, TAU delivered the full Pasifika Festival at Western Springs for the first time since 2018 and attracted 36,000 attendees over the two days of colour, dance, food and music.

Auckland stadiums rock and roll
TAU division Auckland Stadiums sold a cumulative 150,000 tickets for events delivered at Mt Smart Stadium, Outer Fields at Western Springs and North Harbour Stadium between December and March.

Summer concert headliner Harry Styles played to full house at Mt Smart in early March. The other two big attractions were the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Post Malone and My Chemical Romance.

Eden Park hosted two Ed Sheeran concerts in March as well as Billy Joel and Guns ‘n Roses in December.

Other events that rounded up the summer were the FIFA Women’s World Cup Play-Off Tournament, D1NZ, Shenanigan, Jack Johnson, Lorde Solar Power Tour and UKF Festival and the Super Rugby Aupiki semi-finals.

Live shows and busy venues
Between December and mid-March, TAU’s Auckland Live division supported 186 events, including 25 sold-out shows - from international comedy to contemporary music icons - with ticketed attendance topping 120,000.

Auckland Live’s Summer in the Square free events programme saw 39,400 people enjoy themed events over summer.

The Auckland Arts Festival also returned in March for its first full uninterrupted programme since 2019. Across 18 days, more than 100 events took over spaces across Tāmaki Makaurau, including several world premiere productions, such as the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of The Picture of Dorian Gray in partnership with Auckland Live and the Magic Mirrors Tent in Aotea Square.

Auckland Conventions, Venues & Events - another division of TAU - held 62 events across 10 of Auckland’s major venues.

Business events
Between December and March, Auckland hosted 23 business events that attracted 16,792 delegates and boosted Auckland’s economy by $9.48m. Most were secured with the help of Auckland Conventions Bureau, a division of TAU.

Before then, Auckland hosted the International Working Group on Women & Sport in November which attracted 1850 attendees (including 21% of the total virtually) from 90 countries.
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

One of the biggest ticketed exhibitions of the summer was Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: Art and Life in Modern Mexico, which had a total visitation of 76,861. This exhibition was programmed alongside the free exhibition Robin White: Te Whanaketanga | Something is Happening Here.

Auckland Zoo
Auckland Zoo celebrated the completion of its world-leading South East Asia Jungle Track in October 2022 and its 100th birthday later in December by welcoming a record-breaking 238,816 visitors between 20 December 2022 and 20 March 2023. This was in spite of significant disruption and nine days of closure following the devastating January flooding and cyclone Gabrielle in February.

New Zealand Maritime Museum Hui te Ananui a Tangaroa New Zealand Maritime Museum has seen a positive lift this summer, including the welcome return of international visitors, with just over 48,000 visitors engaging with our galleries, heritage vessels, gift shop, café and event spaces between December and March.

Images: Rally of New Zealand (top), concert at Mt Smart Stadium (middle) and Auckland Zoo's Jungle Track (below).

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