Landers bring in $1.9m a match

John Guthrie
John Guthrie
The Highlanders bring plenty of joy to Dunedin fans but they also bring in a fair amount of cash.

An economic impact study — a joint project between the University of Otago and the Highlanders — found an out-of-town fan will spend on average $873 during their time in Dunedin for a game.

The study was run by university marketing senior lecturers John Guthrie and Mathew Parackal, who worked through the new Otago Sports Centre for Academic Research.

The study was set up to understand the economic and social impact the Highlanders franchise has on its host city.

The study  focused on the economic impact out-of-town members of the crowd made to the city in attending the match between the Highlanders and the Waratahs at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

A crowd of 15,700 turned up to the match on May 28, a Saturday, which was won by the Highlanders 44-28.

Of the 4235 people who bought tickets for the game from ticket seller Ticket Direct, the sample shows 51% were from outside Dunedin. Tickets were also bought at the stadium on the night of the game and  season ticket-holders also attended.

A survey sent to fans who bought tickets for the May game showed on average a ticket-buying fan spent a total of $873. That was made up of accommodation, food and drink, shopping and travel.

So, with all the out-of-town  watchers on average spending that amount, the input into Dunedin was a boost to the economy of $1.9 million for the game. That did not include ticket sales.

It was found 21% of visiting fans also went to one or more of Dunedin’s tourist attractions such as Larnach Castle or Moana Pool.

Others attended the capping show or watched club sport.

Guthrie said the figures showed there was clearly an appetite for Dunedin attractions and that presented opportunities for the tourism sector to co-brand with the Highlanders.

The survey also showed 65% of the crowd travelled to the game by private vehicle and 55% of the crowd was male. The average age of respondents was 44.

Highlanders commercial and marketing manager Amelia Kininmonth said the study was a first big step in helping the Highlanders understand its wider contribution to Dunedin.This was not strictly limited to financial impact but also to developing pride in the region.

She said the survey illustrated opportunities for the Highlanders to work closely with tourism providers in the future.

The University of Otago is a sponsor of the Highlanders and has its name on the back of the team’s jersey.

Next year’s economic impact study series will be extended to include the contribution the team makes to the community in the form of salaries and sponsorships, and the social impact it has on Dunedin and Otago.


A bit more than my usual budget for a trip south.