Auckland's global reputation as a sports city has received another boost, with the DHL New Zealand Lions Series 2017 Auckland fan activation and World Masters Games 2017 Auckland (WMG2017) picking up gold and silver at the prestigious annual Sports Business Awards held in London overnight.
The Auckland fan activation for the DHL New Zealand Lions Series 2017 - including the Fanzone at Queens Wharf, regional Fanzones, and Auckland's famous Fan Trail between the waterfront and Eden Park - won the gold award for 'Best Match (or Game) Day Experience'.
Auckland faced strong competition in this category, emerging victorious over co-finalists including Everton Football Club, Cardiff City FC and Manchester City Football Club.
World-class sporting events
The Fanzones and Fan Trail offered great opportunities for Aucklanders and visitors to mix with other fans, share the excitement of the Series, and watch all the rugby action live, complete with entertainment, exhibitions and activities.
The Queens Wharf Auckland Fanzone and Fan Trail were delivered by Auckland's economic growth agency Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development on behalf of Auckland Council, in association with central government.
WMG2017 - delivered by a specially incorporated subsidiary of also won a silver award in the 'Best Mass Participation Event' category.
It involved more than 28,000 athletes aged 25-101 from around the globe, created a huge buzz in Auckland, and exceeded all its key performance indicators.
Auckland's co-finalists in the 'Best Mass Participation Event' category including gold winner Parallel London 2017, Barclays Round Britain Voyage 2017 #RBV2017, and the Powerman Asia Duathlon Championship - Malaysia 2017.
Giving visitors a taste of Auckland's unique cultural heritage
Mayor of Auckland Phil Goff says Auckland is proud to receive further recognition of its ability to deliver world-class sporting events: "Our hosting of the DHL New Zealand Lions Series 2017and World Masters Games 2017 delivered an entertaining and inclusive experience that was fun and exciting for fans of all ages.
"It gave visitors a true taste of Auckland's unique cultural heritage, and our vibrant region, and captivated Aucklanders, who became avid supporters and welcoming hosts.
"Sporting events make our city a more interesting and exciting place to live. The games attracted tens of thousands of competitors and spectators from around the world, and injected tens of millions into our regional economy," says Mayor Goff.
The Sports Business Awards 2018 accolade comes hot on the heels of Auckland being been named 'Best Medium City' for the third consecutive time at the 2018 SportBusiness Ultimate Sports Cities Awards in April.
Nick Hill, ATEED Chief Executive, says the Lions tour and WMG2017 allowed Auckland to show what it does best.
"The city gave a warm welcome to visitors here for these major events, whether spectators, competitors or officials, making them feel at home and hopefully return to visit us again.
"Aucklanders and New Zealanders embraced both events, which were delivered to an exceptional standard. We showed again that Auckland has the ability to organise some of the biggest and best sporting events in the world," says Nick Hill.
Since Auckland's Major Events Strategy was approved by Auckland Council in 2011, events invested in by ATEED on behalf of Auckland Council have contributed $360 million to the regional economy and 2.2m visitor nights (from 2011/12 FY - 2016/17 FY).