Competition fierce for event producers

New Zealand sporting venues are struggling to fill stadiums in a fiercely competitive ticketing market, says a new Nielsen/BrandAdvantage study of the New Zealand events and ticketing market.

Vector_ArenaIn the last five years, increased rugby fixtures and netball competitions, coupled with new facilities such as Vector Arena and a significant growth in concerts, festivals and shows have created a myriad of choice for the New Zealand ticketing dollar.

“Put simply, people are now spoilt for choice to attend dozens of events that might appeal to them, whereas previously there may have been only a handful of events each year that held interest,” says Stuart Jamieson, Executive Director The Nielsen Company’s media research division.

“Even without the global economic downturn, what were once full stadia for fixtures such as international rugby tests or one day cricket games are now struggling to fill previously sought-after seats.”

The survey of 1,989 sports fans aged 18+ in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin defined a “fan” as anyone who had attended or bought tickets for an event at a New Zealand venue in the last 12 months.

The survey found that 60% of fans had also attended at least one arts and entertainment event, concert, festival or show in the last year; and that live television coverage could discourage more than a third – (35%) – from attending an event.

Far and away the biggest obstacle to attendance was the price of tickets.

Nearly 84% of rugby followers cited cost as a deterrent, followed by soccer and cricket, both at 73%.  At 56%, horse-racing fans were the group least concerned about expense.

About half intended to maintain their current rate of spending on sporting fixtures in 2009. League and motor-racing fans were more likely than other groups to increase it; rugby fans most likely to tighten their belts.

Other barriers were work and or family commitments, distance and the quality of the venue.

The internet was easily the most popular method of purchasing tickets. More than half of all respondents (53%) bought tickets online and 37% paid at the gate. Compared with other key spectator sports, basketball and netball supporters were most likely to buy on the internet.

A fraction under 85% of fans rated venue atmosphere as the most important factor in their enjoyment, followed by overall value for money (82%) and seating layout and comfort.

westpacstadiumThe survey investigated all of New Zealand’s major venues asking fans what their key considerations were and how each venue rated across 12 main factors. Westpac Stadium in Wellington came out a clear winner on all these points but general consensus was that New Zealand venues are simply not measuring up to fans expectations.

Among some of the more surprising discoveries in the report included how important fans rated half-time entertainment and what factors influenced when fans purchased tickets.  More information about the report can be found at www.brandadvantage.com/marketreports

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