Welcome for NRL Nines
Rugby league supporters and fans will get the chance to welcome all 16 NRL club teams to Auckland for the first time on February 14 at Aotea Square from midday.
The inaugural NRL Auckland Nines tournament will take place on February 15 and 16 at Eden Park when the clubs will compete in a nine-a-side knock-out tournament for a prize pool exceeding $2.6 million.
The team welcome, organised by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), is the first official and only public event of its kind and more than 250 players will participate.
The welcome will include a panel of NRL players and coaches for some banter, analysis and debate leading into weekend fixture.
‘‘The rugby league community’s passion is legendary, and we know fans will come out to support their favourite NRL club’s team,’’ mayor Len Brown says.
‘‘The Nines will kick off one of Auckland’s busiest ever weekends, which includes rap artist Eminem’s concert at Western Springs, and the Auckland Lantern Festival celebrating Chinese New Year in Albert Park. It’s more evidence that the show never stops in Auckland.’’
Independent economic consultants The Fresh Information Company estimates the tournament will result in an extra 32,800 visitor nights for the region in 2014, rising to more than 43,000 in the event’s fifth year. The economic injection for Auckland will be about $3.8m in the first year, increasing to $6.8m in year five.