How Many Big Events Can We Cope With?


Thankfully, the government has put the kibosh on the laudable but impractical idea we could host the Commonwealth Games but Auckland City is still fishing around for other big international events to stage, in the next few years.
In public transport terms, this may be putting the cart before the horse - or before the electric trains and a reliable service arrive.
There is no question the RWC next year will test pubic transport as we won’t have the electrification in place before the following year, 2013.

RWC: We're getting there

Thankfully, the big events the council is looking at, probably won’t require train services to suburbs like Kingsland so transport issues won’t be such an issue as they are with the RWC but there aren’t enough details of where all the land-based events will be held, if Auckland gets them.
The government is considering whether to support three events that the Auckland council is currently bidding for:

  • ITU Triathlon World Championship Series Grand Finale 2012

Now in its second year, the series  pits the world’s fastest triathletes in head-to-head races in seven cities around the globe. There is a year-end bonus pool of US$500,000, US$250,000 for the Grand Final and US$150,000 up for grabs at each event.

The 2010 Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series kicks off in Sydney on April 11, with races to follow in Seoul, Madrid, Hamburg, London, Kitzbuhel and Budapest. This season’s ITU World Champions will be crowned at the Grand Final in Budapest on September 11-12.

  • Volvo Ocean Race Auckland Stopover 2012

The full list of successful bidding cities is due any day. The race starts n Alicante, Spain and the route will include Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya, China and Itajaí, Brazil. The transatlantic leg begins in Miami and crosses to Lisbon,  followed by Lorient, France. The race will finish in Galway, Ireland.

  • 2013 BMX World Championships (this may have already just gone to Glasgow)




  1. Joshua says:

    I definitely agree with the Volvo Ocean Race coming to Auckland, we will and do already have the facilities thanks to the America’s Cup, also us being the City of Sails it just makes sense.

  2. max says:

    Actually, I think getting tons of events (and not just sports) is very good for Auckland. We are a big city, we can certainly handle a couple, and they DO bring life and money into the region. IF we are not actually paying the price tag for infrastructure that is then used once,or under-utilised later.

    “There is no question the RWC next year will test pubic transport as we won’t have the electrification in place before the following year, 2013.”

    At least we won’t get any shoddy work due to last-minute time pressures, and if everything melts down, more PT funding will look so much more sensible, without tarring the electrification in the deal.

    “I definitely agree with the Volvo Ocean Race coming to Auckland, we will and do already have the facilities thanks to the America’s Cup,”

    Uhhm. Where? Some of the old viaduct facilities are already going down for the Marine Events centre, and more will go soon (apparently as early as the next months) to make space for the new Jellicoe Street works, and the temporary walking/cycling link from Te Wero Island to Jellico Street. Got that druing a lecture straight from one of the Sea+City folks.

  3. Simon says:

    Sorry Jon but I disagree. We will have electrification and still new EMUs and all stations on the current network and possibly even new ones like Parnell should be completed by 2018. The network will be far better than it is now.

    So, it should be able to handle a Commonwealth Games. It`s not the Olympics. We aren`t talking half the planet coming here. Probably only the same numbers or possibly a few more than what will come for next year`s RWC. Have people already forgotten how great it was in 1990? I still have fond memories of those games. And yet sadly Aucklanders are so tied up in their own little lives these days. Quite frankly Auckland is boring. It hosts few large international events. Not because it couldn`t but because Aucklanders are so damn apathetic. I mean there`s quite a lot of Aucklanders out there who are moaning about the RWC getting in the way of their lives. Bet you when it comes to it and this country puts on a great tournament people will get excited and it`ll invariably include many of those who whinged and moaned beforehand.

    I am sad the Commonwealth Games are not coming here. What other big events does Auckland have to look forward to? None of the events you list even come close in size and spectacle. The Volvo Ocean race is a pale shadow of its former life as the Whitbread. The last time the yachts moored year it was a loss-maker. The world BMX champs…wow that`s a biggie! Probably only the ITU champs have the ammo to attract a decent following in Akld.

    Of course, if we`d built a proper National Football Stadium to cover all codes, we could`ve been part of Aussie`s bid to host the 2018 Football WC - now that would`ve been something to look forward to. Yip, Akld loses again…

  4. Joshua says:

    “It`s not the Olympics. We aren`t talking half the planet coming here. Probably only the same numbers or possibly a few more than what will come for next year`s RWC” - A few less actually, RWC is bigger than the commonwealth games (RWC is Third behind SWC and Olympics), their will be more people in Auckland during the finals than their will be for the commonwealth games, so argubly the capacilty and infrastructure should be in.

    MAX - sorry was thinking more along the lines of transport and infrastructure, we will most likely need to rebuild some facilities for the racers, but to me doesn’t seem to be a big problem.

  5. Jezza says:

    We built a lot of the stadiums for the 1990 games, I don’t see why they can’t just be reused but I digress… I’d much rather we invest $600 million in alternative transport options to make our day to day lives more liveable than have some entertainment for 3 weeks…

  6. max says:

    There ARE many possible synergies here, though, Jezza. It’s just that we need to to be real, rather than pet projects that die a lonely under-used death afterwards. Too many cities have produced great infrastructure and architecture for some big event, and then see it decay in the years afterwards.

  7. Richard says:

    Joshua seems to have tagged on to this belief the Rugby World Cup is the third largest event in the world next to the Olympics and SWC what ever that is, I presume the Football World Cup?

    Where on earth do they get this idea? By any criteria I can think of it would be lucky to get into the top ten for the year. Attendances at our stadia even for the final will be less than half many regular events overseas. There are only about twelve serious Rugby nations in the world and it will certainly not have the TV interest of many golf tournaments and events like the Tour de France where a million or so line the road every day with world TV coverage. The list goes on.
    I am fed up with the RWC already and I suggest many others are too.

  8. anth says:

    Discussions about the “3rd most watched sports event” at another blog eventually reached the conclusion that it this was in terms of potential TV audience. Basically because rugby has a negligible following in much of the world it is often used as cheap filler. The sports which are actually popular in those countries meanwhile are on premium channels which as payment is required have less subscribers. So lots of people could watch if they were to turn on their TV at the right time and channel, but most of them choose not to.

    I don’t have a good source to back that up with but then there isn’t much to back up the original claim either. It seems more believable than the RWC having more fans than the Winter Olympics, and the Tour de France, and Formula One, and various regional football competitions (ie Europe, South America, maybe Africa). I wouldn’t be surprised if there are cricket events in India which are more popular, and the same for whatever sport is big in China.

  9. Jeremy Harris says:

    I’m a rugby fan (not rabid) but am feeling a bit meh about it…

    I’m disapointed when I look at the PT investment the Olympics have prompted in London… Why are we seemingly the only city in the world that thinks we need to rush to finish motorways in time for a big event…

  10. Joshua says:

    “n terms of potential TV audience. Basically because rugby has a negligible following in much of the world it is often used as cheap filler.” - Oh so thats why the SWC is so high up there…yes soccer world cup, cause no matter what people say in New Zealand Rugby is our Football. well to be honest thats what happens to soccer here.

    Anyways lets compare total attendance only for one of these events shall we?

    Tournament - attendance - Games in

    Olympic Games - 6,800,000 - over 300events

    Soccer World Cup - 3,587,538 - 52

    Rugby World Cup - 2,274,037 - 48

    Commonwealth Games - 1,300,000 - lots

    Women Soccer World Cup - 1,190,971 - 32

    That’s the list taking out TV attendance as that doesn’t really count I guess. That’s tickets sold, don’t know how to get any more fair.

  11. Jon C says:

    @Joshua Interesting list. I thought it fascinating the media went overboard on Phoenix/All Whites but the TV audience figures I read were very low. Great to celebrate NZ football but the hype doesn’t always match actual viewing.

  12. anth says:

    Ah, highest attendance rather than most watched. Makes sense, really, in terms of what is required to host it. From the point of view of “can the infrastructure (paticularly transport) handle it” the maximum attendance per day would be better still, as would the number of tourists.

    There are some domestic sports competitions which have higher attendance in terms of both attendance per match and number of matches such as NASCAR, American Football, Indian Twenty20.

    There are matches in other sports which have had higher attendance that any RWC game. Having a really big stadium helps.

    I guess the first lot don’t count because they are series’ rather than events. The second group can’t compete because being one off events they don’t have the opportunity to count individual spectators multiple times. So lets see if we can find anything that meets these criteria, isn’t already listed, and has a higher attendance than the RWC …

    The New York Marathon is meant to have over 2 million spectators. It may or may not be be more than the RWC but it is comparable and all on the one day.

    The Tour de France is hard to measure because spectators can attend without tickets, but in 2007 Transport for London estimated that 3 million had gone to watch it in London and Kent. They think this was a conservative estimate, for example estimating the Saturday crowds at 928k or 1.46M depending on method then counting this as 900k. With most of it happening in France the total will of course be much higher; perhaps if I’d searched in French I would have found a basis for the claimed 15 million. The Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana will be much smaller than this but may still have higher attendance than the RWC.


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