New Zealand Football boss Andrew Pragnell is confident of landing the hosting rights for the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup.
Fifa revealed on Wednesday that the joint bid between NZ and Australia had received top marks after the technical evaluation phase, earning an average overall score of 4.1 out of 5 to Japan’s 3.9 and Colombia’s 2.8.
New Zealand and Australia officials will now focus on polishing their bid ahead of the Fifa council vote on June 25 that will determine the host.
Pragnell is confident fans will flock to the 2023 Fifa Women's World Cup if it's held in New Zealand.
“From our experiences, New Zealanders have an understanding that this will be putting us truly on the global stage, and my experience with Kiwis is that while we are a very humble country, when we’re putting something on for the world, we want to showcase [our country] to the best of our ability.”
The largest home crowd New Zealand’s senior women’s team, the Football Ferns, have ever attracted was when 7236 spectators that watched them lose to Japan in Wellington in 2018.
Fans did turn out when the country last hosted a Fifa women’s event – the inaugural Under-17 Women's World Cup in 2008 – with 13,123 attending the tournament opener between New Zealand and Canada and 16,162 watching the final, where North Korea beat the United States in extra time.
Strong commercial prospects were a crucial aspect of the Australia-New Zealand bid, with the evaluation report saying it "appear[ed] to present the most commercially favourable proposition".
The bid projects it can sell a record 1.5 million tickets – an average of 23,000 per match – and generate US$41m (NZ$63m) in revenue as a result. It also projects receiving US$6.6m (NZ$10.1m) in sponsorship and has been allocated approximately US$75 mn (NZ$114.8m) in central and local government funding, including approximately US$11m (NZ$16.8m) in New Zealand.
The trans-Tasman bid outscored or was equal to Japan’s in five of the six categories assessed, receiving higher marks for its team and referee facilities, international broadcast centre plans, competition-related event sites and commercial potential and an equal mark for stadiums, losing out only with regard to accommodation.