Big welcome for NRL Nines stars

Last updated 15:31 14/01/2014

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Rugby league supporters and fans will get the chance to welcome all 16 NRL club teams to Auckland for the first time on February 14 at Aotea Square, Auckland from midday.

The inaugural Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines tournament will take place on February 15 and 16 at Eden Park. All 16 NRL clubs will compete in a nine-a-side knock-out tournament for a prize pool exceeding $2.6 million.

The team welcome, organised by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), is the first official and only public event to feature all 16 NRL clubs.

More than 250 players will attend the event.

Mayor Len Brown says the welcome event provides Aucklanders and visitors with a unique opportunity to engage with the teams.

"It is always exciting to introduce a new, world-class annual event to Auckland, and it has been incredibly gratifying to see the enthusiasm for the event and building support for the teams among sports fans across the city. It will be an extraordinary weekend." he says.

The team welcome will include a panel of NRL players and coaches for some banter, analysis and debate leading into weekend fixture. 

"The rugby league community's passion is legendary, and we know fans will come out to support their favourite NRL club's team," Mr Brown says.

"The Nines will kick off one of Auckland's busiest ever weekends, which includes rap artist Eminem's concert at Western Springs, and the Auckland Lantern Festival celebrating Chinese New Year in Albert Park. It's more evidence that the show never stops in Auckland."

Independent economic consultants The Fresh Information Company (formerly Covec), estimate the tournament will result in an additional 32,800 visitor nights for the region in 2014, rising to more than 43,000 in the event's fifth year. The economic injection for Auckland has been estimated as $3.8 million in the first year, increasing to $6.8 million in year five.

Go to aucklandnz.com/events/featured/nrl-nines for more information.

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