Marketing pitches and goals for football in NZ

This year's World Cup is shutting down businesses across Brazil.

On days the host nation plays, the government has declared half and full-day holidays, closing workplaces nationwide.

Trading on Sao Paulo's stock exchange was slowing even before the tournament began, and by one estimate the constant public holidays will cost local businesses a combined US$13.5 billion (NZ$15.4b).

But despite the All Whites' failure to qualify for the world's football showpiece this year, Kiwi fans have not shied away from the event.

Nor have businesses here shut.

According to Nielsen data, an average of about 180,000 Kiwis tuned in to watch TV One's live coverage of each game during the first week.

England's 2-1 loss to Italy on the first weekend attracted more than 300,000 viewers, slightly more than half the number who regularly watch My Kitchen Rules.

More than 33,000 people also entered the TAB's free World Cup tipping competition, which offered $5 million to anyone who could pick the correct outcome of every game - estimated as a one in 8.2 billion chance.

And Wellington businesses are looking to score with the football fever sweeping the nation, particularly as the first top-flight English sides to visit the country in nearly 20 years head towards Westpac Stadium's changing rooms.

Next month, Newcastle United and West Ham will play at Wellington's Westpac Stadium, believed to be the first time two English Premier League sides have played on the same day outside of Britain.

West Ham will play A-League side Sydney FC from 2pm on July 26, followed by Newcastle against the Wellington Phoenix.

Phoenix chairman Rob Morrison has said he would be "staggered" if the football extravaganza was not a sellout.

Latest figures show 23,000 tickets have sold for the 34,500 capacity stadium.

An independent analysis commissioned by the Phoenix predicted a total direct visitor spend of about $7m into Wellington, and a total revenue impact of more than $15m.

For Wellington's hospitality sector, the game is being billed as a "second All Blacks test" for the city, a traditional yardstick for events spending.

Last year's Bledisloe Cup test injected an extra $1.8m of spending into the capital, with hospitality raking in $5.2m over the weekend.

More than $41m was spent from Friday through Sunday overall.

Green Man pub co-owner Steve Drummond said that if ticket sales for the Football United tour got into the high 20,000s he would expect football fans would beat their rugby counterparts at the till.

This was normally the case with marquee football events such as All Whites World Cup qualifiers and when David Beckham's LA Galaxy played in Wellington in 2007, he said.

The LA Galaxy game attracted a crowd of 31,800, at the time a record for a football match in New Zealand, and was estimated to have been worth between $6m and $8m to the city.

Drummond said football fans tended to make these games whole-day events, with more travelling from out of town to watch the match.

"I would imagine it would possibly be even a little bit more than the All Blacks."

The All Blacks are scheduled to play the Springboks in Wellington in September.

Last month, Phoenix general manager David Dome said the West Ham supporter bay had already sold out for the match.

Drummond had heard 2000 West Ham fans were travelling from the South Pacific and Asia region into Wellington for the game.

He hoped to build on the momentum gathered from screening World Cup matches at the moment, after a "lumpy" three months of trading.

"There's nothing exciting about what's going on in Wellington."

Restaurant Association national president Mike Egan has his ticket for the games, and agreed with Drummond it would likely compare to an All Blacks test weekend.

But he said the different demographic of people likely to attend, and the added excitement of a novel event, would likely push spending that much further.

"It's a one chance in a lifetime that we've had a Premier League team play in Wellington.

"A bit like when David Beckham came, people came into town earlier and there was a bit of excitement around and you could just feel the buzz."

Last year the Premier League's most successful team, Manchester United, played an A-League All Stars side in front of more than 83,000 fans in Sydney.

A New South Wales government report estimated it brought in $16m to the domestic economy, as more than 20,000 overnight visitors came to the city.

James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor general manager Steve Martin said bookings in the region were slowly starting to come in.

He had spoken with various hotel managers and the general sentiment was optimistic ahead of next month.

"Most of the hotels are fairly confident that they'll fill that night."

Martin said winter tended to be a quieter time for hotel bookings in the region, which was why these events were perfect for the city.

Retailers are also hoping to find the net over the next month.

Football Central, a boutique store in central Wellington, has been screening live World Cup games in an attempt to make as much of a feature of the tournament as possible.

Co-owner Richard Mowbray said steady interest in merchandise had been balancing a traditional lull in sales as the winter sports season entered its second half, and people bought less gear.

"I think it's as big, if not bigger, than when the All Whites themselves were in it last time," he said.

"It's captured the imagination of the neutral [fan] as much as it did four years ago."

He said more people were buying football shirts of the bigger nations, such as France and Germany, as fans wanted to be involved with the iconic tournament in Brazil.

Sales were stronger in the week leading up to the first matches, but the early exits of England and Italy had "shut down that end of the market".

"There's a big Italian community in Wellington, they've gone, but thank God for the Greeks.

"They've managed to hang on by their fingernails."

Adidas country sales manager Quentin Bleakley said the World Cup had definitely created a spike in merchandise sales in the country.

Worldwide, adidas expected to sell more than 8 million football jerseys this year, up from 6.5 million at the last World Cup.

About 14 million Brazuca match balls were also expected to be sold.

Bleakley said the ball had had a particularly strong response from fans in New Zealand.

But sales of West Ham, Sydney and Phoenix jerseys, of which adidas is the sponsor, were a little harder to track, he said.

"It's hard to get a read on the immediate commercial impact beyond gate sales for the clubs."

Mowbray, however, said there was a "complete lack of tangible interest" surrounding the games next month.

Newcastle and West Ham memorabilia was not that well supported in Wellington, he said.

But he also believed retailers would need to bank on strong sales the day before and on the morning of the games, which started earlier than other big football matches held in the capital.

"You've sort of been able to max out the whole day and people have been quite keen to get into town early, do a bit of shopping.

"I think really as a retailer you're really hanging your hat on the day before and the morning of."


Newcastle United vs Sydney FC, Dunedin, July 22; 6300 tickets sold.

West Ham United vs Wellington Phoenix, Auckland, July 23; 11,000 tickets sold.

Newcastle United vs Wellington Phoenix, West Ham United vs Sydney FC, Wellington, July 26; 23,000 tickets sold.


Football fans David Owen and Patrick Stevens have travelled to Brazil for the World Cup, where both the football, and the expenses, have exceeded expectations.

Last year the pair imagined they could go to a few games and tour parts of South America for less than $10,000.

But Owen said World Cup markups had meant prices were "pretty ridiculous".

"Everyone I got tips off or spoke to who had been to Brazil had the impression it was cheap and easy, which it usually is.

"Expenses have been a write-off to be honest."

He said hostels which were usually $18 a night were up around $120 a night.

Food was cheaper once they began eating from street vendors but buses, though reliable, were more expensive than they had hoped.

"Accommodation has to be the biggest killer with price.

"I just wasn't expecting it, even though the World Cup is on."

Though they had only been to the major cities, it appeared the whole country was "cashing in".

But whenever Brazil played the country stopped, he said, which could be a hassle but was mostly exciting.

He saw Spain play Chile and England against Costa Rica, however, which were all that mattered to him.

"It's an amazing place but the attractions are so packed up and prices are steep, I'd want to come back again when it's not World Cup time."