3 Mar 2021

Women's World Cup postponement will impact many - Eden Park

3:42 pm on 3 March 2021

One of the country's largest stadiums is disappointed the Women's Rugby World Cup could be potentially postponed.

 Mt Eden Park Stadium. View from Mt Eden Summit

Eden Park Stadium. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

The tournament was set to take place in September and October, with seven games - including the finals - being hosted at Auckland's Eden Park.

However, World Rugby said after talking to the New Zealand Government, New Zealand Rugby and the teams, it decided there was too much uncertainty due to Covid-19 to be sure of a successful tournament and it will likely be delayed until next year.

Eden Park chief executive Nick Sautner said the event industry was already in crisis due to Covid-19 and the tournament's delay could have major impacts.

"We've seen disruptions to the event calendar now, not only in 2020 but also in 2021," he said.

"And that unprecedented impact on our business has meant we have needed to adapt, but our core business is still events and without events it makes it very challenging for us to deliver our direct revenues, but also our indirect revenues form our event calendar."

Sautner said events hold "immense value from an economic and social perspective" and they deliver "genuine and collective engagement" as well as wide-ranging secondary revenue delivered by hard-working staff across various hospitality and transport services.

"No matter how large or small, events create significant employment opportunities and contribute positively to the mental and physical health of our society. There is no doubt these events are needed more than ever as we navigate these unprecedented times."

Meanwhile, Northland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stephen Smith said if the Women's Rugby World Cup was postponed it would have a major impact on the region's businesses.

The region was scheduled to be the hub of the tournament, with 11 games being played at various event centres and sports grounds across Whangārei.

"The impact is extremely disappointing, the North, like most other provinces, is looking for significant opportunities like this to showcase ourselves and to put some financial fat away for difficult times, which we are facing and will continue to face for the foreseeable future."

Smith said the delay would be "just another little thing", which added up to be "bloody frustrating" and he was amongst the many who will have to "suck it up and get on with it".

A final decision on postponing the tournament will be made next week.