World cup count­down is on

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - JACK­SON THOMAS

In fewer than 100 days an es­ti­mated 6000 rugby league fans will descend on New Zealand for the Rugby League World Cup (RLWC).

While the event will not be as big as the Rugby World Cup, Cricket World Cup or even the re­cent Lions Tour, it will still pro­vide an eco­nomic boost, with one re­port es­ti­mat­ing in­ter­na­tional visi­tor spend­ing could be about $5 mil­lion over the five week tour­na­ment.

The re­port, com­mis­sioned by Rugby League Word Cup 2017, said do­mes­tic visi­tor spend­ing was likely to add to that fore­cast fig­ure.

It said the eco­nomic con­tri­bu­tion would be de­pen­dent on play-off games and New Zealand host­ing a semi-fi­nal against Eng­land in Auck­land.

The 2017 event, kick­ing off on Oc­to­ber 27, is co-hosted by New Zealand and Aus­tralia. Pa­pua New Guinea will also host three pool matches.

New Zealand will host seven of the to­tal 28 games across four venues - Auck­land, Christchurch, Hamil­ton and Welling­ton.

Auck­land Cham­ber of Com­merce chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael Bar­nett said he thought the event was more likely to bring in just $3m.

‘‘That seems low but given the spread of the games and the lower level of in­ter­est in league it may be cor­rect,’’ Bar­nett said.

The 2011 Rugby World Cup brought in $700m while the 2015 Cricket World Cup grew New Zealand’s econ­omy by $110 mil­lion.

New Zealand Ma­jor Events spokes­woman Re­becca Heerde­gen said the tour­na­ment was an op­por­tu­nity to bring rugby league and tourism to new com­mu­ni­ties.

The tour­na­ment would see the first ever in­ter­na­tional test in Hamil­ton.

‘‘The sec­tors that tend to ben­e­fit the most from ma­jor events are in the ac­com­mo­da­tion and hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tors,’’ Heerde­gen said.

Heerde­gen said the 2017 event could at­tract be­tween 1500 to 6000 vis­i­tors to New Zealand.

RLWC gen­eral man­ager An­drea Nelson said mak­ing the event ac­ces­si­ble to all and for it to have a last­ing le­gacy on the coun­try were the top pri­or­i­ties.

‘‘Tickets start from just $45 for a fam­ily of four. That’s cheaper than the movies,’’ Nelson said.

The open­ing match is in Mel­bourne be­fore New Zealand hosts its first game the next day at Mt Smart Sta­dium against Samoa.

Shaun John­son cel­e­brates at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, a tour­na­ment that at­tracted more than 450,000 fans.

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