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More people are coming to the NZI Sevens than ever before, enjoying themselves more and spending more, according to an economic impact report commissioned by Wellington City Council.
A summary of the findings from the McDermott Miller report shows that the total new spend for the city from the NZI Sevens 2008 was a whopping $15.6 million, an increase of 81% on the $8.6 million recorded for the 2001 tournament (when the last economic impact report for the New Zealand International Sevens Tournament in Wellington was conducted).
Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast says the report highlights the value that NZI Sevens brings to the city.
"We had expected an economic benefit of between $8 million and $10 million, so to reach $15.6 million is fantastic and demonstrates the value of the city investing in events like this. People converge on Wellington to enjoy the city, meet up with friends, and experience spectacular rugby. We hear over and over again that the best Sevens experience is the NZI Sevens in Wellington, so it's great to have this reinforced by the report.
"The NZI Sevens is incredibly important to Wellington's economy. Our local hospitality, retail industries and other businesses really embrace Sevens and justifiably reap the rewards. Our residents benefit not only from the party atmosphere but also from the jobs and other advantages that flow-on from hosting large-scale events."
Steve Walters, NZI Sevens General Manager, was just as upbeat about the results. "It's great to see all the hard work and dedication from tournament staff, volunteers, commercial partners and the rugby community pay such a large dividend back to our city, which is such a key ingredient in the success of the NZI Sevens."
The increasing appeal of the tournament is highlighted by the estimated additional 10,000 people who came to the city for the NZI Sevens 2008 celebrations, in spite of not having a ticket. Further to this, more people are coming from outside Wellington city, 74% in 2008 compared to 67% in 2001. Auckland is the largest source of visitors to Wellington at 28% in 2008, up from 21% of all visitors in 2001.
Spectators love the event with 98% rating their experience as ‘very good' or ‘good' and 91% of spectators rating the Westpac Stadium as ‘very good'. Seventy-one percent of spectators say they are ‘very likely' to attend the NZI Sevens in 2009.
Proving that it's not only the tournament that people come for, more than 74% of spectators rated their experience of Wellington city as ‘very good' and a further 21% rating it a ‘good'. This is an increase from 2001 when 67% rated Wellington as ‘very good' and a further 26% rated it as ‘good'.
Visitors are staying for slightly longer; 2.7 nights in 2008 compared to 2.6 in 2001. Visitors are wealthier with a household income of $122,290 in 2008 compared to $85,000 in 2001.
Although more Aucklanders are coming to Wellington for the NZI Sevens, the number of South Islanders has dropped to only 10% of visitors to Wellington.
Other findings include:
· Most of the NZI Sevens audience is made up of either rugby followers (40%) and partygoers (38%). Rugby followers are more likely to be a repeat NZI Sevens attendee, more likely to attend with a partner or family group and are more likely to return to their accommodation after the game. Partygoers are likely to be younger, less likely to have children, are more educated, and carry on the party after play has finished.
· The average NZI Sevens spectator is 41 years old
· 62% of spectators are male, 38% are female.
· The economic spend is divided into restaurants and hospitality 48%, accommodation 17%, shopping 13%, land transport 4%, leisure activities 2%, other 16%.