Hamilton, July 20, 2023
The biggest sporting event New Zealand has ever hosted is getting underway, with the Football Ferns facing Norway at the opening match at Eden Park tonight.
“Tonight’s game marks the beginning of the month-long tournament being co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia. Co-hosting an event of this magnitude will generate huge social and economic benefits for New Zealand and leave a lasting legacy for football and women’s sport in this country, and our communities,” Grant Robertson said.
A prestigious event
The FIFA Women’s World Cup is the largest women’s sporting event on the planet and this year’s event will be the biggest yet, with 32 teams taking part. The tournament is expected to captivate an audience of up to two billion people across the globe.
The Government has invested $55 million into hosting the tournament, which includes $25 million for upgrading 30 match and training venues and related facilities. A further $10 million to leverage the tournament to create lasting benefits. So far, more than one million tickets have been sold across all venues, which is a landmark in itself.
Cheering for the team
“The Football Ferns have had a strong lead-up to the opening match, first with their victory over Vietnam and then a narrow 0 -1 loss to Italy. With a loud, proud crowd cheering them on against World No. 12 Norway, it is going to be a memorable opener,” Mr Robertson said.
“There are now limited tickets available for this match, with just over 40,000 New Zealanders and international visitors heading along to watch the opening ceremony and match of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023. New Zealand warmly welcomes the thousands of international visitors and football fans arriving on our shores for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023. With 29 matches in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Dunedin, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many New Zealanders to experience a top-tier FIFA World Cup event.”
Celebrations in Hamilton
Hamilton will complement the celebrations of the kick of Auckland with a special Fan Event planned for all the Football fans. Starting today evening till July 23, 2023, the FIFA Fan Festival is free to people of all ages, providing a fun and interactive destination to experience the best in football, music, entertainment, local culture and games. Known as ‘the place to be outside the stadium’ fans will be able to watch matches played in other host cities live on the big screen.
Details of the event
Across the four days, attendees can enjoy a programme of local artists, virtual experiences, Hungerball, Zorb Football, a silent disco, glitter makeup sessions with local drag queens, cultural performances, informative panel events, a poi workshop and taa moko facial art lessons.
On Thursday, July 20, 2023, fans will be able to watch the opening ceremony and match between New Zealand and Norway.
Headlining on Friday, July 21, 2023, is New Zealand-based singer-songwriter, Robinson, who stormed the charts with ‘Nothing to Regret’ earlier this year and boasts an impressive 123 million listens on Spotify. Kiwi personalities, Jono and Ben, will MC the evening.
“New Zealanders love sport and to be hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 is so incredibly exciting!” said Robinson. “I also can’t believe I’m performing at the FIFA Fan Festival. It truly is a dream come true and I feel so honoured to be a part of such a special event.”
On Saturday, July 22, 2023 fans are encouraged to experience Japanese and Zambian culture at the FIFA Fan Festival before jumping on the free shuttle to the first match in Hamilton.
Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.