26 May 2018

Perfect: Ed Sheeran concerts bring $34m to Dunedin economy

12:05 pm on 26 May 2018

The impact British musician Ed Sheeran had on Dunedin has been felt long after his three shows in the city, with news his visit injected almost $38 million into the local economy.

RNZ reporter Sarah Robson interviews Ed Sheeran.

RNZ reporter Sarah Robson interviews Ed Sheeran. Photo: RNZ/Dan Cook

His concerts over Easter weekend were predicted to bring $34m, but exceeded that.

Dunedin Venues chief executive Terry Davies said there were fears estimates had been optimistic, so he was "naturally delighted" with the actual revenue.

"I am more than happy with this result which is outstanding for the city," he said.

"Almost the population of Dunedin attending the three concerts really put us to the test but I'm proud to say our team performed admirably."

An economic impact survey shows more than 108,000 seats were sold with two-thirds of people coming from out of town. Almost a third of those in attendance came from Canterbury.

Ed Sheeran's impact on Dunedin

  • Spending by all visiting spectators is estimated at $37.9 million.
  • Visitors stayed an average of 1.8 nights.
  • Average spend by those who responded to the survey was $542 a person.
  • The concert generated the equivalent of 284 job-years of work.
  • $24m added to local GDP.
  • $10.9m household income earned.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said the weekend was one of the biggest in the city's history.

"The economic impact of hosting the concerts is obviously tremendous for the local economy and Dunedin is fortunate to have a world-class facility such as Forsyth Barr Stadium, which is the envy of much larger cities.

"Perhaps what isn't so easy to measure, however, is the social impact - the huge amount of community pride and spirit - these types of events help to generate."

Sheeran's visit was at the forefront of the debate about relaxing Easter trading laws in the city - a controversial bylaw was passed allowing retailers to open on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

The concerts were also why more than 30 bars were able to open on those days and why there was a $60,000 conversion of part of the Octagon for a hub for fans.

Those measures, and a controversial $8000 mural of the British superstar, were widely considered a success by visitors and city authorities.

The giant Ed Sheeran mural in Dunedin

The giant Ed Sheeran mural in Dunedin Photo: Supplied

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