Press Release – Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development
Auckland was today named host of the prestigious IRB Junior World Championship 2014, the world’s biggest rugby tournament outside of the full Rugby World Cup (RWC). The event will see 12 teams and their supporters descend on Auckland for three weeks in June 2014, reprising the region’s hugely successful role as host of RWC 2011’s opening ceremony, pool and finals matches.
The IRB has confirmed North Harbour Stadium at Albany, and ECOLight Stadium, Pukekohe, will stage matches during New Zealand’s first ever hosting of the annual event. The hallowed turf of Eden Park – host of New Zealand’s 1987 and 2011 RWC final victories – is being considered for the 2014 junior final.
The tournament will be run by the NZRU, with the assistance of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), local provincial unions and stadium operators.
Auckland Mayor Len Brown says hosting recent major sporting events such as RWC 2011, the Volvo Ocean Race 2012 stopover and ITU World Triathlon Championships has displayed Auckland’s world-class credentials to the world – confirmed by being named ‘Sport City’ runner-up to London at the 2012 International Sports Event Management Awards this month.
“I am looking forward to Auckland staging a memorable and successful tournament in 2014 and showcasing our vibrant city to the world. Aucklanders welcome teams and supporters with open arms, providing them with a superb experience during their visit and creating a real buzz around the region. And like the other major events we have hosted, it’s a great chance for Kiwis to see some of the world’s top athletes perform,” says Mayor Brown.
ATEED will invest $1.45 million from its Major Events Fund into the tournament, matching the Government’s capped contribution for an event which an independent consultancy expects to inject $7.3 million to the Auckland region’s GDP.
“Visiting media and coverage will provide excellent exposure for our region, and the event will contribute to Auckland’s economic growth,” says Mayor Brown.
Jennah Wootten, ATEED acting General Manager Major Events, says the tournament is expected to generate 46,000 visitor nights for the region, from players, officials and fans.
“Hosting important international sporting events is a key economic driver, and this is another important win alongside the 2017 World Masters Games. Feedback from international fans and officials at RWC 2011, the ITU events and Volvo Ocean Race confirmed Auckland has the infrastructure, including transport, venues and accommodation, necessary to stage world-class sporting events.”
“RWC 2011 created important legacies for Auckland, such as a huge volunteer network and amazing visitor experience initiatives such as the Fan Trail and Fanzones. The experience of hosting last year’s huge event will be crucial as ATEED plans for the 2014 tournament.”