Auckland - The Rugby World Cup is likely to bring an extra $491 million (R3 billion) directly into the New Zealand economy but longer term could be worth $1.21 billion (R7.3 billion) to the country, according to a report commissioned by tournament sponsors MasterCard.
Rugby's quadrennial showpiece event, which is in New Zealand for the second time and runs until Oct. 23, will also generate $1.67 billion (R10 billion) for the global sports economy, according to the report released on Tuesday.
The tournament will attract some 95 000 visitors to New Zealand, who will help in the consumption of 7.5 million litres of beer, and longer term benefits will accrue to the country from increased tourism and an improved reputation as a host of major sporting events, the report said.
New Zealand's sports economy has already grown dramatically over the last decade and the report predicts that before the end of the decade spending in the sector could be worth $11.7 billion (R70.75 billion) with up to 58 000 employed.
"New Zealand 2011 is likely to be one of the most distinctive rugby World Cups yet, offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," concluded the report, conducted by the Centre for the International Business of Sport at Britain's Coventry University.
"Already a notable sport tourism destination, the staging of RWC will further reinforce New Zealand's reputation. In turn this will act as a catalyst for developing New Zealand's reputation as a major event host.
"Rugby World Cup therefore has huge potential to create a lasting legacy."
New Zealand has spent some NZ$550 million (R3.3 billion) on upgrading venues for the event and will spend about NZ$310 million (R1.9 billion) on licensing and tournament costs, while they hope to recoup some NZ$270m (R1.6 billion) from ticket sales.