Organisers of Queenstown’s biggest international snow sports show are promising their best-ever event thanks to a new $10 million mega-budget.
Mountain Scene can reveal the Winter Games has been handed an extra $500,000 in new Government funding less than a week after it announced a $1m cash injection from the Beehive. The money will help the biennial event triple its 2009 budget to a whopping $10m for 2013.
Games chief executive Arthur Klap says the money will help secure a huge programme of high-calibre winter sports events, off-mountain festivals, live music and entertainment as hundreds of international athletes descend on the resort.
“We’re looking to do a major step up from last time, especially for downtown events,” Klap says.
“Obviously with the five World Cups that are included, combined with really strong programmes in Queenstown and Wanaka, we should be really humming.”
Details aren’t finalised but Klap wants the downtown action to attract thousands of visitors.
After launching the 2013 Games in Auckland last Friday with the announcement of the $1m from the Major Events Development Fund, Klap tells Mountain Scene that Government agency Sport NZ has also stumped up $500,000.
Sport NZ gave $125,000 for the inaugural 2009 Games, $250,000 in 2011 and has now doubled its contribution.
“Sport NZ’s support is because of the benefits for the athletes in having a competition in the home environment, leading up to the 2014 Winter Olympics,” Klap explains.
Tourism NZ is also backing the event with a $100,000 contribution plus international media sponsorship.
“The support of the Government agencies is critical for us because it gives us the base from which we can then go and seek the commercial support.”
Much of the increased budget will be spent on marketing to draw tourists to Queenstown for the event, he adds.
“The success of the Games is going to come from others that are here while the event’s on. To do that we need to have a strong marketing campaign.”
The Government committed $1m from its Major Events fund for the 2009 Games but indicated each subsequent Games would get less money.
“For the 2011 Games they gave us $750,000. The intention was that every year we would get less but we’ve been able to argue the case that they should stay at that $1m level.”
While Klap hasn’t secured the budget yet, he’s confident he’ll do so before his board meets in October.
“At the moment things are tracking well. It will definitely be a step up.”
Games organisers have told the Government it’ll take five of the biennial events before it becomes financially self-sustainable.
“So we actually need to have strong Government support for the first 10 years of the Games and they’ve listened to that which is really encouraging,” Klap says.
The Winter Games is viewed by athletes as crucial training ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia. The 14-day event includes five International Ski Federation (FIS) World Cup events, three Super Continental Cups and seven Continental Cups.