Saturday, April 20, 2024

Tāmaki Makaurau applauds record-breaking Women’s World Cup

After 32 days of on-field action, the final whistle has sounded for the largest women’s sporting event ever to be held in Aotearoa New Zealand.

More than 340,000 fans witnessed the world’s best footballers at Eden Park representing an average crowd of 38,047 across the nine Auckland matches as part of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™.

The record crowd for a football match in Aotearoa New Zealand – women’s or men’s – was broken three times in Auckland and a capacity crowd of 43,217 was achieved for the final three matches played at Eden Park.

In addition, over 85,000 people came through the doors at the FIFA Fan Festival, which was open for the duration of the tournament at The Cloud on Queen’s Wharf and free for all ages.

Tātaki Auckland Unlimited – the region’s cultural and economic agency – was the lead agency to deliver the tournament’s host city requirements on behalf of Auckland and its Director of Arts, Entertainment and Events, Richard Clarke says he’s thrilled with how it all came together.

“We are very proud of what has been achieved in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland from across the Auckland Council group, Crown agencies, mana whenua and our event partners to host an event that has gone beyond greatness and surpassed all expectations,” he said.

“Aucklanders and visitors to the region have turned out in force to support and unite behind football and women’s sport.

“We see incredible benefits for the region in hosting major events – there’s the immediate benefits of attracting visitors who spend money on accommodation and hospitality, and the international exposure through broadcast and media.

“Not only that, specific to this event, our communities will benefit from significant infrastructure upgrades to training venues for many years to come, and the social and cultural impact of the tournament will also provide a lasting legacy.”

The average (actual) commercial accommodation occupancy in Auckland* for the period from Thursday 20 July to Saturday 12 August 2023 was 75.0% – representing an increase of 51.4% in comparison to the same period last year (49.7%).

Accor Pacific Chief Executive, Sarah Derry said Accor was pleased to host guests, teams and media for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

“Events like this are a great boost to our hotels and the wider community. The opportunity for Aotearoa to be a co-host with Australia for a global event was important, and we hope for many more such partnerships.” 

Tourism operators such as The Big Foody founder, Elle Armon-Jones said business has been up significantly, with maximum guest numbers filling most of their Auckland food tours in what are traditionally quieter months.

“It’s been inspiring meeting so many passionate supporters of women’s sport from all over the world. The vibe in the city has been phenomenal and it was fabulous to hear so many guests saying they looked forward to coming back in the future,” she said.

Businesses in the suburbs of Kingsland – voted one of the world’s coolest suburbs – and Morningside near match venue Eden Park have reported a 400 to 600% increase in foot traffic during the tournament.

The increase was spread across all hospitality, with bars, cafés, and restaurants seeing the benefits of a family-friendly crowd attending matches at Eden Park.

Eight of the 32 teams made Auckland their home for the duration of the group stage of the tournament and 11 training venues across the region (from Māngere and Papakura to Ellerslie, New Lynn, and Brown’s Bay) were upgraded to meet FIFA requirements, creating a long lasting legacy for the region.

These upgrades include gender neutral facilities at eight football clubs to promote participation of women and girls at club level, and the installation of 32 new lights to create 315 more hours of lighting each week across 15 pitches. 

A post-event evaluation period commenced following the final match in Sydney on 20 August. As a major event of international scale, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 and its Host City programmes will be part of a publicly available national cost-benefit analysis report. This report is due at the end of December 2023.   

* Data source for accommodation is STR Global.

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