26 Feb 2024

Taylor Swift tour could have generated $70m for NZ economy - expert

5:43 pm on 26 February 2024
US singer Taylor Swift performs on stage during a concert as part of her Eras World Tour in Sydney on February 23, 2024. (Photo by DAVID GRAY / AFP)

Taylor Swift performs at Sydney's Accor Stadium. Photo: AFP / David Gray

A Taylor Swift tour could have generated more than $70 million for New Zealand's economy, an expert says.

Aotearoa was not included in Swift's Eras Tour lineup, with Kiwi fans instead flocking over the ditch to see the star at her Melbourne and Sydney shows.

Most fans who spoke to Checkpoint before boarding a plane for Sydney spent between $1200 and $1500 all up on the trip, including tickets, flights, accommodation, dining and merchandise.

One said he was "happy to spend as much as I'd spend on a car", while another said she spent more than $100 on bedazzling a bodysuit for the gig.

"You'd be surprised at how expensive rhinestones can get," she said.

"Over $100 on rhinestones and sequins was not part of the plan, but no regrets."

The fans surveyed said they each spent about $700 or $750 on return flights and between $200 and $400 on tickets, with the amount spent on accommodation varying based on how long they were staying in Australia.

It was "a lot of money", one fan told Checkpoint.

"Especially as I only just started full-time work - as a student, it was pretty rough."

Some estimates have put the financial gains from Swift's seven-night tour of Australia at nearly $1 billion.

Dr Angel Zhong, a senior lecturer in finance at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, was more conservative, and said the Australian tour was expected to generate about $558 million.

If she had played three nights in Auckland, that would have generated about $97.5 million, she told Checkpoint.

Swift could be expected to take home about $25 million of that, leaving the New Zealand economy with just over $70 million.

Zhong said she had come to that conclusion by looking at the capacity of stadiums in Auckland.

Eden Park - which last week claimed its resource consent had stopped it from hosting the Eras Tour - can host about 50,000 fans.

"If she's holding a three-night concert during the tour, then we're talking about 150,000 participants," Zhong said.

Then, Zhong looked at what concertgoers would likely spend on tickets, dining, travel, accommodation and merchandise, and came to an average of $650 per person.

That might sound conservative, but many fans would be Auckland residents and would not need to pay for travel or accommodation, she said.

After Australia, Swift will head to Singapore, where the country's Tourism Board reportedly paid about $4 million to the star to encourage her to play there.

However, when questioned whether Aotearoa should have done the same, Zhong said it was not a simple case of $4 million in, $70 million out.

To afford to see the Eras Tour amid a cost-of-living crisis, fans had to make "financial sacrifices", she told Checkpoint - cutting back elsewhere in order to spend on tickets, travel and merch.

"So instead of buying good tomato sauce, you actually cut back on your spending by buying home brand tomato sauce to save money," she said.

"That means, maybe the direct impact or net impact on the economy will be less than the $70 million figure."

Swift's final Sydney show is on Monday night.

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