Rugby World Cup Comes at a Price

April 26, 2011 Updated: October 1, 2015

Chief executive officer of the 2011 Rugby World Cup Martin Snedden (Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images)
Chief executive officer of the 2011 Rugby World Cup Martin Snedden (Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images)
The cost of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand set for September 9, 2011 is expected to run at a loss, according to a University of Auckland economics professor.

A survey asking Rugby World Cup organisers, local authorities, government departments, public bodies, transport hubs and sponsors how much they would spend was reported by the New Zealand Herald.

Spending on the Rugby World Cup was estimated to reach $1.2 billion.

Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard estimated in a press release in January that the World Cup could add about $700 million to the economy for the 6 week event. He added that there could possibly be ‘multiplier effects’ down the line during what was a tourist down-time.

Economics Professor Tim Hazledine told the NZ Herald the official estimate of $700 million had been blown out of proportion and to determine the true benefit, tourism dollars that would already have been spent in New Zealand even without the World Cup needed to be subtracted and account for profit margins.

“In total, you can find about $150 million actual money-in-the-pocket benefits to New Zealand,” said Professor Hazledine.

The survey included projects such as improvements to signage, existing budget spending, and other items such as turf upgrades which might have been necessary even without the World Cup.

Eden Park’s $256 million upgrade was the biggest cost followed by Dunedin’s new Forsyth Barr Stadium upgrade at $198 million.

Plans to stage two quarter-final matches at Christchurch’s Lancaster Park were abandoned following serious damage to the ground surface after the disastrous February earthquake this year.

Martin Snedden, chief executive of Rugby New Zealand 2011 told the NZ Herald it’s hard to measure in hard dollar terms the benefits of hosting the World Cup.

“You can understand, if you are aware of these events, the really extensive worldwide media coverage and television coverage it gets and just how much opportunity it has on the world stage – it goes to so many different countries,” he said.