The largest event New Zealand has hosted since the 2011 Rugby World Cup starts today with an opening ceremony at Eden Park in Auckland this evening.
The World Masters Games 2017 will see more than 25,000 athletes aged over 35 compete for medals until April 30, followed by around 10,000 spectators.
The 35,000 attendees will see up to 250,810 visitor nights generated, which is forecast to pump $45.2m of cash-flow into the Auckland region.
That will have a GDP impact of about $36m to the regional economy, according to Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED). This rises to $53m GDP and 266,000 visitor nights to the wider New Zealand economy.
The government ($11m) and ATEED, on behalf of Auckland Council ($11.8m), have invested approximately two-thirds of the $35.9m required to stage the event with the remainder to come from registration fees ($8.5m) and commercial sponsorship ($4.6m).
Competitors and supporters will attend events in 28 sporting disciplines, at more than 45 competition venues across the Auckland and Waikato regions.
Eleven of the sports – archery, athletics, badminton, canoeing, cycling, lawn bowls, rowing, swimming, table tennis, tennis and triathlon – will have Para sections, the largest amount in the Games’ history.
It is the ninth time the event has been staged, having first gone ahead in Toronto, Canada in 1985 and it will next take place in Kansai in Japan in 2021.
The World Masters Games 2017 fast facts:
When: April 21-30
Where: More than 45 competition venues across the Auckland and Waikato regions.
How many: More than 25,000 competitors and 10,000 spectators
How much: 35,000 attendees ticking up 250,810 visitor nights in Auckland are forecast to generate a $45.2m cash-flow to the city, and a GDP impact of about $36m. This rises to $53m GDP and 266,000 visitor nights to the wider New Zealand economy.
Click here to view our feature on the effect sports tourism will have on the New Zealand economy this year.