10 Oct 2011

NZ urged to benefit from investment in Cup

7:09 am on 10 October 2011

UK Professor Simon Shibli says New Zealand needs to find ways to capitalise on its investment in Rugby World Cup infrastructure, after the final whistle blows.

The head of the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallan University, Professor Shibli has been researching the economic impact of big sporting events since the 1996 European Football Championships in England.

Professor Shibli says that like other big events, the Rugby World Cup will provide a short, sharp boost to the economy while it is on.

But he says New Zealand has the opportunity to capitalise on its investment in stadia, hotels, transport and infrastructure, even after the tournament is over.

He suggests three ways New Zealand can do this:

First: If the country can demonstrate that it is a competent host of a major sporting even, there could be the opportunity to attract other events such as the Commonwealth Games, the Cricket World Cup and possibly an Oceania World Cup.

Second: The people who attend the event or see it on television - such as the Rugby World Cup opening event - might encourage peole to discover more about New Zealand culture and visit it as tourists.

Third: The Rugby World Cup might help to foster new business investment if international sponsors attending the event and their visiting clients see New Zealand as an attractive place to invest.

But "these things have to be worked on, they don't happen by magic" Professor Shibli warns.

Both Prime Minister John Key and Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully have said the Rugby World Cup has proved New Zealand could host a successful Commonwealth Games.

A report commissioned by Mastercard earlier this month predicted the Cup will bring will bring in $411 million that the economy would not otherwise have seen.