FIFA Women's World Cup provides boost for host cities

12:50 pm on 10 August 2023
Fans and supporters.
Women's World Cup Group A soccer match between New Zealand Football Ferns and Switzerland in Dunedin, New Zealand, Sunday, July 30, 2023 © image by Andrew Cornaga /

Swiss fans prior to the match against the Football Ferns in Dunedin. Photo: Andrew Cornaga/

The FIFA Women's World Cup has seen a big boost for host cities - fending off the winter doldrums and putting a spring in the step of business owners.

And with summer on the way and Covid restrictions well and truly becoming a thing of the past, they are hoping the good times will keep on rolling.

The final match the country hosts for the FIFA Women's World Cup is next Tuesday 15 August - a semi-final at Auckland's Eden Park and once again it is looking to be a sell-out crowd.

USA fans show their support during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Group E -  USA v Netherlands at Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand on Thursday 27 July 2023.
Copyright photo: Masanori Udagawa /

USA fans before their team's encounter with the Netherlands in Wellington. Photo: Photosport / Masanori Udagawa

Not only has it been a historic tournament for football fans, but Auckland Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck said it had brought a buzz across the country.

"The spirit that you've actually seen around the country for these games is actually phenomenal. I think it's been wonderful to see these young kids you know really getting behind the teams and so excited and the families going to games, I think that's been fantastic."

The tournament has been filling the tills of some businesses, with international spending in the city centre up 17 percent in the last two weeks, Beck said.

Some sectors are also seeing figures surpassing pre-Covid numbers.

"The other thing is that the attractions and the accommodation spend is both up in recent weeks, about 2019 spending, so that's a positive thing too."

Wellington will host its final match tomorrow, a quarterfinal between the Netherlands and Spain.

Wellington Chamber of Commerce chief executive Simon Arcus said the games had been great for the capital.

"Any games that were on around the weekends were fantastic but it certainly is welcome after really being at the pointy end of Covid for two years."

Football fans arrive before the FIFA Women’s World Cup Group G -  Sweden v Italy at Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand on Saturday 29 July 2023.
Copyright photo: Masanori Udagawa /

Football fans arrive before the FIFA Women's World Cup Group G - Sweden v Italy at Wellington Regional Stadium. Photo: / Masanori Udagawa

Arcus said he hoped the international visitors would spread the good word.

"What we noticed on the streets of Wellington were so many different accents, so what I'm hoping for is that people are going back to their home countries, new countries that don't necessarily think of us straight away and just tell the story of what a fantastic country and of course the best city being Wellington."

Matches have also been warmly welcomed in Hamilton and Dunedin which hosted a combined 11 games.

Business South chief executive Mike Collins said it had helped businesses.

"I would say it's definitely boosted some industries by probably 50 to 60 percent over that period."

The event was helping more than just the city hosting it, he said.

"It's created also opportunities for people outside of the region, so people have visited Dunedin for example and you know headed on to Central Otago and then it's had benefits for businesses not just in the city of Dunedin but also businesses outside in other areas of the region, so it's been great."

Fans during the FIFA Women's Football World Cup group E match between Portugal and Vietnam at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton, New Zealand on Thursday July 27, 2023. Copyright photo: Aaron Gillions /

Vietnam football fans in Hamilton. Photo: Aaron Gillions / Photosport

But Hamilton's Central Business Association general manager Vanessa Williams did not expect the buzz to last forever.

"We probably will have a little bit of a drop post these major events, so when they finish there's probably a month or two of a bit more of a business-as-normal settle period."

However, she said hopes were high going into another summer with open borders and fewer Covid restrictions than ever.

"Based on last year ... going into summer we'd just come out of some restricted restricted periods of time so we had a great summer, so really looking forward to that again."

Last summer brought record spending to Hamilton city centre, and Williams said she was looking forward to seeing how these last few weeks of football fever stacked up in comparison.

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