That’s the message from Wellington City Council, WellingtonNZ and Sky Stadium today as the city begins to tally up the benefits of hosting matches in the FIFA World Women’s Cup 2023™.
Council says work is underway on an economic impact report that will evaluate the impact on businesses in the city to determine how much of a boost the tournament provided to the region, but all the signs are positive.
Mayor, Tory Whanau says the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ has been a huge success for the city and all the visitor attractions.
“Pōneke really put on a good show for our visitors, with exciting matches at the stadium, free and fun events and activities all over the city, a beautiful fireworks display, and even the weather came to the party – most of the time!”
“Now the tournament is coming to an end, the number crunching can begin, and even anecdotally we know this will have been a major boost to our economy especially the retail sector and hospitality industry.
“It’s been awesome to see so many Wellingtonians, like me, embracing football and the women’s game so much. It’s a great opportunity to continue growing the game and the profile of women’s sport in our region.”
WellingtonNZ GM, Warrick Dent says it was great to see the city get behind the event.
“The tournament has shown that as a city we get behind major international events by turning out to the matches and the FIFA Fan Festival and welcoming thousands of visitors. It was a real team effort and establishes Wellington as a major events destination.”
The FIFA Fan Festival on the waterfront attracted about 60,000 people where fans could watch the games on a big screen and participate in a number of football-related activities.
In addition, 40 FIFA volunteers completed about 1,500 hours of service, helping direct people around the city and to the stadium, and six grounds people based at two training venues clocked up 274km pushing hand mowers.
Wellington Regional Stadium Chief Executive, Shane Harmon says the venue hosted nine games in 22 days, with seven group matches taking place in just 13 days.
“As far as we can tell no venue in senior women’s or men’s World Cup history has held seven standalone group matches. Our biggest challenge was turning the venue around to be ready for matches in quick succession. Our staff did a fantastic job in achieving that.”
Mr Harmon said the games brought more than 230,000 fans through the gates which was a phenomenal result.
Some city attractions saw a huge boost in their winter visitor numbers. Zealandia’s tours experienced its best ever July with numbers up by 70%. Numbers overall were up by 25% on normal with a spokesperson saying it was completely out of season.
“We’ve had the numbers of a fairly busy season in the middle of winter,” he said.
The Cable Car saw 73,721 visitors through its gates including multiple global film crews and the Swedish football team – taking it to 22.9% over its target for the period.
Mr Dent says the economic impact report from the tournament is expected to be completed in the coming months.