Bezett confident of Masters Games future

Chairman John Bezett holds no fears for the future of the Masters Games despite the event losing its major sponsor and suffering a 15% drop in numbers this year.

The 2010 Games finished in Dunedin last night with a closing ceremony attended by Otago swimming great Danyon Loader.

It is now an event without a major sponsor, following ACC's withdrawal after 10 years, but Mr Bezett said the New Zealand Masters Games Trust was confident of finding a major financial supporter before next year's Games in Wanganui.

"We were aware some time ago that ACC was pulling out and we have been working with a number of possible sources," Mr Bezett said.

"We are confident of getting another naming rights sponsor soon."

The four Dunedin members of Parliament were at the opening of the Games last week and indicated to Mr Bezett they would assist in procuring a new major sponsor.

"We also have a good relationship with Sparc and hope that they will look favourably on our request for further funding," Mr Bezett said.

"This is too big a movement to let fall over because we don't have a naming rights sponsor."

About 6000 competitors attended the Masters Games this year, down from about 7000 two years ago.

Economic factors and the presence of the World Masters Games in Sydney only four months ago have been pinpointed as reasons for the drop.

The New Zealand Masters Games were first held in Wanganui in 1989 and 1991.

Dunedin's first Games were in 1992 and the event has been held in Wanganui and Dunedin on alternate years since.

This pattern will continue until at least 2017.

An economic impact report is being prepared.

Mr Bezett said the financial benefit to the city was estimated to be more than $5 million.

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