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Auckland City gearing up to roar with the Lions

4 May 2005

Auckland City gearing up to roar with the Lions

Auckland City will be making the most of hosting the DHL Lions Series when more than 20,000 supporters visit next month.

The event will have significant spin-offs for Auckland due to the estimated 10,000 ticketed supporters with hospitality packages. Another 10,000 to 15,000 supporters will be following the tour without tickets, along with a number of domestic tourists. Some 150 international media will also follow the tour.

Auckland is likely to benefit most when activity peaks leading up to the Auckland versus Lions match on 5 July and the third and final Lions versus All Blacks test at Eden Park on Saturday, 9 July.

“We will be dressing the city up and rolling out the welcome mat, just like we did for the America’s Cup. Aucklanders probably still don’t realise how big and significant this event will be. Based on the Lions tour of Australia four years ago, it’s going to be huge,” says Mayor Dick Hubbard.

Auckland City is working closely with organisations like the Eden Park Trust Board, the Barmy Army’s event company and LH05 (Lions Hospitality) which are all planning special activities and events during the July Auckland part of the series. Special attention is being given to traffic and transport management around the Eden Park night matches on Tuesday 5 July and Saturday 9 July. Detailed traffic and transport messages will be released in June.
Further announcements will also be made shortly about family and business orientated activities the city and event organisers are working on for Lions supporters and other fans.

“This series is a major opportunity to showcase Auckland and will send a clear message about New Zealand's ability to host a major sporting event like the Rugby World Cup 2011,” says Mr Hubbard.

Based on Australia's experience, the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) says the 11-match Lions Tour will inject about $120 million of direct foreign exchange spending into New Zealand's economy during a six-week period – normally the tourism "off-season". Future flow-on tourism effects could push that total up to $250 million (by comparison, the America's Cup brought in an estimated $523 million over three years).

“The economic spin-offs from this tour should not be taken lightly. It’s possible that Auckland could take a third of the total cash injection simply because many supporters have to base themselves in Auckland due to accommodation shortages in smaller cities,” says Councillor Richard Northey, chairperson of the Economic Development and Sustainable Business Committee.

“The Barmy Army is a classic example of a well organised supporters club of over 40s with high disposable incomes who are willing to spend it on this unique New Zealand experience,” he says.

“We want both rugby fans and Auckland families to share in the festive atmosphere and we’ll be telling people about all the action off the field as details are confirmed,” says Mr Hubbard.

“It is critical Auckland and New Zealand use this tour to establish our credentials to back the NZRU’s bid to host the 2011 Rugby World Cup. That will have colossal value,” he says.

To find out more about the series, visit www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/lions or www.thelionstour.co.nz


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