Auckland third in world for hosting sports events
Auckland's sporting fanaticism has been rewarded by a podium finish at the international sporting cities awards.
SportBusiness Ultimate Sports Cities named Auckland the third best city in the world for sports events, behind winner London, and Melbourne.
Auckland also claimed the title for the top medium-sized sporting city in the world - judged on cities with a population between 1.3 million and 3 million people.
At yesterday's award ceremony in Turkey, head judge Rachael Church-Sanders said Auckland excelled with a clearly defined events strategy and a ''highly engaged sports-mad public''.
''The city's successful hosting of the 2011 IRB Rugby World Cup put Auckland on the event hosting map and it has continued to raise the bar when it comes to building a major events calendar," she said.
''It has the ability to host world-class events against a stunning backdrop of natural beauty.''
Auckland Mayor Len Brown said the accolades reinforced Auckland's global reputation for hosting international sporting events.
''The winning cities are chosen not just for staging fantastic events, but also for their quality of life, transport and infrastructure. In this way our events are truly showcasing Auckland as one of the world's most liveable cities,'' he said.
Auckland also took out categories for best event legacy, security and homegrown event for the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines.
This summer, as well as the Nines, Auckland hosted the Heineken Open and ASB Classic tennis events, Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championships and the Barfoot & Thompson World Triathlon Auckland. This month sees the city host the SKYCITY NZ Badminton Open and the ITM 500 Auckland (V8 Supercars).
Announcing the win, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) said that between 2011 and 2013 the city's Major Events Strategy stimulated a 35 per cent increase in GDP for Auckland - growing from a $28.9 million return in 2011-12 to $39.1m in 2012-13.
ATEED said that was ahead of target and that Auckland was on track to generate GDP of $49m per annum by 2016.