The arrival of international football superstar David Beckham in the Capital would attract fans from all over the country and once again thrust Wellington into the international media spotlight, Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast said today.
Her comments followed the much anticipated confirmation by Wellington Phoenix that it will be hosting Beckham’s LA Galaxy team in a match at the Westpac Stadium on Sunday, December 2.
“The large crowds the Phoenix home games have been attracting show just how much of a following football has in our city, and Beckham himself is also likely to be a drawcard for a number of people who perhaps aren’t that interested in football, but are keen to see him in person.
“It’s a great opportunity for our city and that’s why it’s been so disappointing that there has been so much misinformation out in the public arena about Wellington City’s contribution to this event.
“The funding the Council is providing will assist in venue hire and the marketing and promotion of the game around the country. In other words the funding is being provided to encourage people to come to Wellington to see Beckham, not to bring Beckham here. That is being funded by Terry Serepisos and Century City Football Ltd. All financial risk is being carried by them,” Mayor Prendergast says.
“The criteria for funding for any event from the Events Development Fund is that for every dollar we invest, we expect a $20 return. We are confident that will be achieved. We expect this event to fill the Westpac Stadium which normally means a $6 million return to the city in terms of new spending.”
The hosting of this event is also likely to generate significant international media interest, she says.
“Just like the premiere of Peter Jackson’s Return of the King in 2003 which Wellington City Council contributed towards, this event will put Wellington in the international spotlight.
“David Beckham’s presence in the Capital and his status as an international celebrity will mean extensive media coverage from around the world. It is impossible to put a dollar value on the worth to Wellington of that kind of international exposure.”