The 2011 Rugby World Cup brought over 133,000 international visitors to New Zealand and had a short-term economic impact of 1.73 billion NZ dollars (£0.9bn), according to a report released last night.
The report, commissioned by the New Zealand Government, investigated the impact of the 45-day long tournament, which was won by the host nation with a dramatic 8-7 victory over France at Auckland’s Eden Park.
Despite the country’s fanaticism for the sport, doubts had been raised over whether New Zealand had the infrastructure to host the event and whether enough profit would be made.
Organisers also had to contend with the devastating Canterbury earthquake seven months before kick-off, in which the stadium in Christchurch, due to host seven matches, was severely damaged. In the end, the tournament largely ran smoothly and the organisers, Rugby New Zealand 2011, posted a loss of £16.2 million, 20 percent better than expected.
The report also found the event sustained the equivalent of 29,990 jobs for the duration of one year.
The tournament attracted over twice as many visitors as initially estimated, with well over a third coming from Australia. Those visitors spent around £202m. The report said the tournament exceeded all expectations, both on and off the pitch, and delivered tangible and positive benefits for New Zealand and the game as a whole
Recreation minister Murray McCully said: “An understanding of the planning and operational excellence required to deliver major events is now embedded here, and is already being applied to preparations for the Cricket World Cup and Fifa Under-20 World Cup in 2015, and the World Masters Games in 2017.”