Auckland region benefits from DHL New Zealand Lions Series 2017

A cohesive regional push to secure two test matches for Auckland in the DHL New Zealand Lions Series 2017 has paid off, attracting thousands of international visitors, generating millions of dollars of new money and supporting hundreds of jobs. 

City agencies, led by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) on behalf of Auckland Council, jointly pursued the opportunity to host two out of the three test matches for the Series. 

The Series brought approximately 25,446 international and 33,607 domestic visitors to Auckland, staying for a combined 232,213 nights in the region; it contributed $67.9 million of new money to the regional economy; with 808 full time equivalent positions required to support the GDP impact.1 

1 DHL New Zealand Lions Series 2017: Economic Impact and Benefits Analysis of the DHL New Zealand Lions Series, 12/02/18, by PWC for the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, 

Auckland hosted three matches during the 2017 British & Irish Lions Series, including two tests, adding to the bumper year which also saw the region host the 2017 World Masters Games and co-host of 2017 Rugby League World Cup. 

ATEED worked in partnership with Auckland Rugby Union, North Harbour Rugby, Counties Manukau Rugby Union, the Blues, Regional Facilities Auckland, Auckland Transport and Eden Park to secure the Series matches. 

ATEED General Manager Destination Steve Armitage says the organisation looks to secure major events for Auckland for the economic and social benefits they can deliver the region and its people. 

“As Auckland’s economic development agency, we are looking at what major events can generate for our local businesses and workers, and what money and visitors an event can bring to Auckland that wouldn’t have come here otherwise.” 

“The scale of an event like the 12-yearly Lions Series not only brings visitors to our hotels, restaurants, bars and shops, but it fills our venues, provides work for performers, event and security firms, tourism attraction operators and many more. 

”It also showcases Auckland as a potential place to visit, live and work to both visiting and viewing fans.” 

Once the matches were allocated, ATEED worked with local tourism and accommodation providers and a wide range of other stakeholders across Auckland to ensure the city was positioned and prepared to make the most of this opportunity and the visitors it brought. 

This included working with alternative accommodation providers like Airbnb and the Auckland Racing Club (which established a pop-up campervan park for the Series), and linking with local employers to promote Auckland as a place to live and work to visiting fans through a targeted A Smart Move campaign.

Auckland turned it on for visiting and local fans, working in association with central government’s Rugby 2017 Festival, to deliver the Queens Wharf Auckland Fanzone, regional fanzones, and fan trails from the city centre to Eden Park, which were used by more than 16,000 fans travelling to the matches. 

Eden Park CEO Nick Sautner says 143,282 tickets were sold across the three matches held at Eden Park, New Zealand’s national stadium. 

“The matches highlighted Eden Park’s global sporting profile, superior seating capacity, convenient transport connectivity, proximity to the city and state of the art facilities for all fans which maximised the economic benefits for all stakeholders.” 

“These events held at Eden Park also showcased the thriving multicultural retail precincts of Kingsland and Dominion Road, which provided the perfect pre-and-post destinations for locals and international visitors,” says Nick Sautner. 

Electronic card retail transactions over the three-day game periods for the Auckland matches (measuring card spending on the pre-game days, game days and post-game days) show a lift in total spend across Auckland of $22.7m compared to the same period in 2016. The total spend for the nine collective days was $512.3 million, representing an increase of 5 per cent year-on-year.2 

International spending was up $8.5 million compared to the same period the year before, representing a 67% increase year-on-year. 

The card spend data does not capture spending like pre-booked/pre-paid accommodation, tour or ticket packages or vehicle rentals, or the flow-on economic effects of the Series. Many international visitors travelling to New Zealand for the Series purchased ticket and accommodation packages in advance (more than 8000 packages were sold). 

The accommodation sector card spend data shows spending increased by $2.3m (total spend $12.4m), representing an increase of 23%, with the F&B sector experiencing a lift of $12.8m (total spend $93.2m), representing a 16% increase. 

The benefits of the Lions Series follow ATEED’s annual results for its 2016/17 Auckland Major Events Portfolio. On behalf of council, ATEED invested in a portfolio of nearly 30 major cultural and sporting events in the 2016/17 FY, and supported a number of sporting franchises. Together, they injected an estimated $76 million into the regional economy and generated more than 557,390 visitor nights.3 

“Events like the Lions Series, World Masters Games 2017 and the current Volvo Ocean Race Auckland Stopover build on the reputation Auckland has forged as a world-class events city, and the outcomes of the Series for the Auckland region show the power of our city organisations working together as a cohesive regional group to benefit Auckland and its people,” says Steve Armitage. 

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For further information please contact

Melanya Burrows 
Senior Communications Advisor – Major Events 
P +64 9 365 0614 
M +64 21 986 710

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