Following 32 days of action, the curtain has come down on the largest women’s sporting event to be held in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland or Aotearoa New Zealand.
The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ has surpassed expectations right from the incredible opening match between New Zealand and Norway at Eden Park, with several history making records being set in Auckland.
More than 340,000 fans witnessed the world’s best footballers at Eden Park representing an average crowd of 38,047 across the nine Auckland matches. The record crowd for a football match in Aotearoa New Zealand – women’s or men’s – was broken three times in Auckland and a capacity crowd of 43,217 was achieved for the final three matches played at Eden Park.
In addition, over 85,000 people came through the doors at the FIFA Fan Festival, which was open for the duration of the tournament at The Cloud on Queen’s Wharf and free for all ages. Tātaki Auckland Unlimited – the region’s cultural and economic agency – was the lead agency to deliver the tournament’s host city requirements on behalf of Auckland and its Director of Arts, Entertainment and Events Richard Clarke says he’s thrilled with how it all came together.
“We are very proud of what has been achieved in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland from across the Auckland Council group, Crown agencies, mana whenua and our event partners to host an event that has gone beyond greatness and surpassed all expectations”.
“Aucklanders and visitors to the region have turned out in force to support and unite behind football and women’s sport.”
“We see incredible benefits for the region in hosting major events – there’s the immediate benefits of attracting visitors who spend money on accommodation and hospitality, and the international exposure through broadcast and media. Not only that, specific to this event, our communities will benefit from significant infrastructure upgrades to training venues for many years to come, and the social and cultural impact of the tournament will also provide a lasting legacy.”
The average (actual) commercial accommodation occupancy in Auckland* for the period from Thursday 20 July to Saturday 12 August 2023 was 75.0%, representing an increase of 51.4% in comparison to the same period last year (49.7%).
Accor Pacific Chief Executive Sarah Derry says Accor was pleased to host guests, teams and media for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
“Events like this are a great boost to our hotels and the wider community. The opportunity for Aotearoa to be a co-host with Australia for a global event was important, and we hope for many more such partnerships.”
Tourism operators such as The Big Foody founder Elle Armon-Jones says business has been up significantly, with maximum guest numbers filling most of their Auckland food tours in what are traditionally quieter months.
“It’s been inspiring meeting so many passionate supporters of women’s sport from all over the world. The vibe in the city has been phenomenal and it was fabulous to hear so many guests saying they looked forward to coming back in the future.”
Businesses in the suburbs of Kingsland – voted one of the world’s coolest suburbs - and Morningside near match venue Eden Park have reported a 400 to 600% increase in foot traffic during the tournament. The increase was spread across all hospitality, with bars, cafés, and restaurants seeing the benefits of a family-friendly crowd attending matches at Eden Park.
* Data source for accommodation is STR Global.
Eight of the 32 teams made Auckland their home for the duration of the group stage of the tournament and 11 training venues across the region (from Māngere and Papakura to Ellerslie, New Lynn, and Brown’s Bay) were upgraded to meet FIFA requirements, creating a long lasting legacy for the region.
These upgrades include gender neutral facilities at eight football clubs to promote participation of women and girls at club level, and the installation of 32 new lights to create 315 more hours of lighting each week across 15 pitches. This brings more opportunities for sports and recreation and an increased field capacity which supports the development of stronger clubs and more active and healthier communities.
Before the tournament started, hundreds of people from different Auckland communities braved the rain to plant 5000 native trees at Puhinui Reserve to celebrate the FIFA Women’s World Cup and help make a positive impact on the environment.
Te Hine O Te Kura Youth Symposium was a Host City Auckland-led event also held in the lead up to the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 to break down menstrual equity barriers to participation in sport and education. This event created a meaningful legacy resource of assets that will endure and support rangatahi now, and in the future.
“Hosting three women’s World Cups in 2022/23 alongside the 8th International Working Group (IWG) World Conference on Women & Sport has provided a significant opportunity to celebrate the world’s best athletes in cricket, rugby and football and to grow participation and champion lasting social impacts for women and girls in sport in our region,” says Clarke.
“These events have broadcast Auckland to millions of people around the world, delivering on our profile as a world-class destination for global events, enhancing our destination brand and generating future propensity to travel and do business here among a captive global audience.”
EDITOR’S NOTES: A video celebrating Auckland’s successful delivery of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 can be viewed and downloaded here.
A post-event evaluation period commenced following the final match in Sydney on 20 August. As a major event of international scale, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 and its Host City programmes will be part of a publicly available national cost-benefit analysis report. This report is due at the end of December 2023.