It may be modest compared to the Rugby World Cup outlay and outcome, but ‘World Masters Games’ have their own charm and New Zealand will yet again be the centre of global attraction as the host country five years from now.
Prime Minister John Key, who also handles the Tourism portfolio, announced on March 15 that New Zealand will host the World Masters Games in 2017.
“This is a significant win. This international event will draw tens of thousands of people to the country and inject millions of dollars into the economy,” he said.
According to Mr Key, by granting the hosting rights, the International Masters Games Association (IMGA) had expressed its vote of confidence in New Zealand as a venue for major international sporting events.
“We hope this would be one of many more to be staged here following the success of the Rugby World Cup,” Mr Key said.
The quadrennial World Masters Games are one of the biggest participatory multi-sports events in the world, held every four years. New Zealand would be hosting the Games for the first time in 2017.
Mr Key said the Games will boost the local and national economies.
“An independent study showed that we can expect the World Masters Games to contribute $53.5 million to New Zealand’s GDP, including $37 million to Auckland’s GDP. We are also expecting to see the hotel and hospitality sectors get a real boost, with international visitors alone spending an estimated 266,190 nights in accommodation,” he said.
The 2017 World Masters Games will include 30 different sports such as track and field, basketball, surfing, swimming, cycling and volleyball.
More than 350,000 visitors are expected to be in Auckland, where the Games will be held at Mt Smart Stadium, ASB Stadium, Auckland Domain and Piha Beach.
IMGA was constituted in 1995 to promote lifelong competition, friendship and understanding between mature sportspeople, regardless of age, gender, race, religion, or sport status.
The aim was to support the Olympic movement and the ‘sport for all’ philosophy of the Olympic Charter by promoting and encouraging mature athletes from all over the world to practice sports regularly and to participate in Masters Games, with the awareness that competitive sport can continue throughout life and improve personal fitness level.
Prime Minister John Key, International Masters Games Association President Kai Holm and Auckland Mayor Len Brown at the Auckland meeting on March 15 to announce World Master Games 2017 in New Zealand.