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World Cup Likely to Trigger ChCh Stadium Upgrade

World Cup success likely to trigger Christchurch stadium upgrade

Redevelopment to increase Jade Stadium's seating up to 55,000 is likely to go ahead following news of the successful New Zealand bid to host the 2011 Rugby World Cup, says Mayor Garry Moore and stadium company chairman Bruce Irvine.

Jade Stadium Limited (JSL) and the Christchurch City Council worked with the New Zealand Rugby Union as it prepared its bid to host the tournament. The City Council directly owns JSL, which shares a board with another Council company, Vbase Venue Management Group.

After construction in 2001 and 2002 of the $43 million Paul Kelly Motor Company stand west of the pitch, the stadium now seats 36,500, with 30 corporate suites.

Earlier this year, Mssrs Moore and Irvine told the Rugby Union that concept plans have been drawn to extend the stadium's redevelopment and the country being awarded the 2011 cup would be a catalyst for this to go ahead. They urged the union to include this information in the national bid.

"This is tremendous news," Mr Moore says. "One of the strengths of the New Zealand bid is the support the rugby union has from the Government. As far as Christchurch is concerned, that's also true on a local level. The organisers can count on Christchurch to help ensure the event will be a success.

"Christchurch showed with the first Lions test match in June that it's a fantastic host for these kinds of big events and we've already laid some of the groundwork needed to make sure international visitors for the World Cup, the teams and their organisations all have a great experience."

Mr Moore says it is important that the organisers ensure South Island centres get their fair share of the tournament's matches. "The Mainland deserves its share and I'm talking about the big matches too, at the business end of the draw. There's no reason why the semis or the final couldn't be held here and I'll be working hard to make sure the organisers are aware of our capability."

An economic impact study based on interviews done with visitors here for the 25 June Lions rugby match suggested the local economy benefited by as much as $22m. The report, by Rotorua-based consultancy APR, says spending by the 10,650 overseas visitors it estimated were in the city specifically because of the rugby generated an economic impact of $32.3m and created the equivalent of 290 full-time jobs.

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