New Zealand: the Rugby World Cup is a huge marketing opportunity

It might not make an initial profit, but it will showcase NZ and reconnnect Kiwis internationally.

There's been a bit of concern downunder that the 2011 RWC, which extends over six weeks from September 9 to October 23, won't be a profitable exercise.  Last April, the New Zealand Herald reported "New Zealand will spend more than $1.2 billion on investments backing the Rugby World Cup - but the tournament will make only $700 million in direct economic returns."  And chatter has continued, but the legacy of this World Cup ought actually to be very favourable for the Kiwis.

Sporting events of this magnitude rarely make money, as South Africa discovered after hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2010. As late as January 2011 FIFA still owed South Africa 550 million Rand (US$77m), claimed But the true cost to the South Africans was probably far higher.

According to, the Japanese expect to make money from hosting the next RWC, "Japan's new rugby chief believes the cost of reconstruction following the deadly earthquake and tsunami in March will not impact the country's ability to host a profitable 2019 World Cup, although he did admit their budget was "tight.""  You bet.

The real value to New Zealand, I think, lies in the social interaction between the visiting teams, their entourages and supporters and the Kiwis. This will have a really positive impact, particularly as games are to be held right across New Zealand with many key population centres being involved. But also, the world will be watching in their millions and New Zealand's scenery, hospitality and efficiency will be on display. The ensuing commercial, trade and tourist benefits will be highly beneficial.  

Matches will be held in: 

Auckland, the City of Sails with university, dramatic waterfront, harbour, Hauraki Gulf with islands, yachting, extinct volcanoes, museum, art, Polynesian and Asian cultures
Dunedin, university city with Scottish heritage and near Queenstown, the adventure capital close to Aorangi Mt. Cook, Southern Alps, lakes, glaciers, fiords
Hamilton, university, river and farming city near Cambridge, the racehorse centre
Invercargill, Scottish heritage city near to Bluff, famed for oysters, and Stewart Island
Rotorua, geysers, trout fishing, lakes, Māori culture and near Taupo with lake, falls, national park
Napier, wool centre, fruit, wine, first rate art deco architecture
Nelson, wine, food, music, scenery, boating, arts, crafts
New Plymouth, conical Mt. Taranaki, botanic gardens, coastal walks, amazing art gallery
Palmerston North, university city with parks, close to the Manawatu gorge, and near Whanganui with excellent museum and dramatic river
Wellington, the capital, university city, cultural centre, cable car, botanic gardens, quay and waterfront, parliament, national museum Te Papa
Whangarei, sub-tropical North, Māori culture and near 90-Mile Beach, the first capital Russell, Waitangi, Bay of Islands and Cape Reinga where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific. 

So, while the country might not turn in an immediate profit, the longer-term advantages will give a huge helping hand to this relatively young country's future development.

According to the International Rugby Board, latest world rankings (with previous positions bracketed) are:

4 (4)FRAFRANCE 83.79
5 (5)ENGENGLAND 81.82
6 (7) WALWALES 80.79
7 (6) IREIRELAND 79.57
8 (9) SCOSCOTLAND 78.83
9 (8) ARGARGENTINA 78.40
10 (10)SAMSAMOA 74.55
11 (11)ITAITALY 73.88
12 (15) TGATONGA 72.49
13 (13)JPNJAPAN 71.96
14 (14)CANCANADA 71.56
15 (12) FJIFIJI 70.83
16 (16)GEOGEORGIA 70.30
17 (17)ROMROMANIA 65.69
18 (18)USAUSA 65.00
19 (19)RUSRUSSIA 61.93
20 (20)NAMNAMIBIA 61.43

The Springboks are holders of the Webb Ellis Cup, and South Africa is a country which has twice won this tournament. Australia's Wallabies have won it twice also, and England on one occasion in 2003. The All Blacks won the inaugural competition in 1987. But with the tournament being held in New Zealand this time, where Rugby Union is a national sport, the All Blacks' chances of winning the 7th Cup are tremendous.

It's 1,289 km or 801 miles from Whangarei to Invercargill, which presents a visitor with the challenge of a lot of sport, culture, adventure or scenery to absorb.  And memories to take back home. For New Zealand the RWC offers a once-in-a-lifetime business and export product marketing opportunity.

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