Ateed to re­view strat­egy af­ter Nines exit

Sunday News - - SPORT - DAVID LONG

‘ once you’re on the map, the com­pe­ti­tion wakes up. ’ STEVE AR­MITAGE

ONE of the big­gest play­ers on the New Zealand sport­ing land­scape is hav­ing a re­think about what events to bring to this coun­try.

Auck­land Tourism Events and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment (Ateed), are the arm of Auck­land Coun­cil charged with help­ing to make the city a great place to live as well as at­tract­ing vis­i­tors from else­where.

When it comes to sport, they’ve be­come a sig­nif­i­cant fac­tor in get­ting big events to New Zealand, in­volved in events rang­ing from the ASB Clas­sic, NZ PGA cham­pi­onships, LPGA sanc­tioned Women’s Open (that fea­tured Ly­dia Ko), Auck­land Nines, Auck­land Marathon, World Masters Games, Rugby League World Cup and the youth sail­ing world cham- pi­o­nships. Next year there will also be the Volvo Ocean Race stopover and the NRL dou­ble header when the Tigers take on the Storm, fol­lowed by the War­riors against the Cow­boys.

But the Nines are gone and so too could be the women’s golf open and it co­in­cides with Ateed con­tem­plat­ing what events it should look at in the fu­ture.

‘‘I’m very proud of what Ateed has achieved, work­ing with NZ Ma­jor Events,’’ Steve Ar­mitage, gen­eral man­ager, des­ti­na­tions at Ateed said.

‘‘We’ve at­tracted mega events into the city, but we’re seven years on with our ini­tial de­vel­op­ment of our ma­jor events strat­egy.

‘‘We had great suc­cess in the early stage, be­cause we were ag­gres­sive in get­ting into the mar­ket place, to put Auck­land on the map.

‘‘The trou­ble is, once you’re on the map, the com­pe­ti­tion wakes up and the prices the other cities, par­tic­u­larly in Aus­tralia, are pre­pared to pay in re­la­tion to us means we’re up against it.

‘‘It’s a dif­fer­ent world to what it was seven years ago, so we’re hav­ing to in­no­vate and that was one of the rea­sons why we were so proud of the Nines, be­cause it was a new con­cept and some­thing we were able to put an Auck­land stamp on, along­side Duco.

‘‘Those op­por­tu­ni­ties take a long time to come to fruition and we’re work­ing on a few things be­hind the scenes.’’

Few would ar­gue the that the Nines hadn’t done its dash by this year’s event and there was a feel­ing of in­evitabil­ity that it wouldn’t be back again in 2018 as the Roost­ers de­feated the Pan­thers 10-8 in the fi­nal at a half full Eden Park.

Ar­mitage says he hopes there could be a cou­ple of an­nounce­ments in the next month on fu­ture sport­ing events they’re look­ing to bring to Auck­land, but the big one com­ing up is the Amer­ica’s Cup.

Teams are likely to be in New Zealand in late 2019 and the Amer­ica’s Cup will be­gin in 2021.

It’s not yet de­cided on where it will be held, but Auck­land is the nat­u­ral home for the event in New Zealand.

‘‘Ob­vi­ously the Amer­ica’s Cup is fo­cussing the mind at the mo­ment and some key de­ci­sions are due in the next few weeks around lo­ca­tion,’’ Ar­mitage said.

‘‘We’re get­ting an in­di­ca­tion from the gov­ern­ing body of Auck­land around what ap­petite they have to in­vest in it, but also what the pre­ferred lo­ca­tion will be, so we can get some cer­tainty around host­ing the event.’’

As Ateed re­views its ma­jor events and vis­i­tor strat­egy, there’s likely to be a fo­cus on qual­ity, rather than quan­tity of events as Auck­land’s re­sources are strained be­cause of the in­crease in the city’s pop­u­la­tion and tourists.

‘‘Sport will al­ways be a vi­tal com­po­nent of our strat­egy, but we’re al­ways chal­lenged by try­ing to find the bal­ance,’’ Ar­mitage said.

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