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How much are the Highlanders worth to Dunedin?


Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Highlanders value image
Image courtesy of the Highlanders.

They’re obviously home-town favourites but just how much money do the Highlanders contribute to Dunedin and further afield?

That’s the question the University of Otago and the Highlanders Rugby Club will be hoping to answer over the next couple of years.

Leading the charge are Department of Marketing Senior Lecturers Dr John Guthrie and Dr Mathew Parackal, working through the new Otago Sports Centre for Academic Research.

The University’s sponsorship of the Highlanders means they are already commercial partners. Dr Guthrie says the economic impact study will build on that relationship.

“Understanding the contribution an event makes to a local economy is important for all those involved. That’s not just Dunedin as a city, the Highlanders and the University – it also includes the providers of services to the events.

“Most importantly it includes the citizens of Dunedin. People are proud for their city to be the home of high-profile events. It is good to get an idea of not just the positive economic impacts of having the franchise here but also its social impacts.”

For Marketing students the economic impact study will form part of Dr Guthrie’s Sports Marketing course and Dr Parackal’s postgraduate course on digital marketing.

Dr Parackal says prospective participants in the survey will be randomly selected from ticket data.

“All of the information is anonymous. Survey participants will be given the opportunity to go into draws throughout the season to win signed Highlander jerseys.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne welcomes the study.

“It is an outstanding project and an outstanding example of cooperation between the University and the Highlanders, and one which will provide students with opportunities to apply their knowledge to a real-life business situation.”

Highlanders General Manager – Commercial and Marketing, Amelia Kininmonth, says the study will help the Highlanders Rugby Club understand the contribution they make to Dunedin – “not just financial but also to the pride of the South”.

“The intention is to do a survey after each home game. This will allow us to quantify the economic power of each visiting team as well as the total economic impact.”

The University’s Head of Marketing, Lindy Wilson, says there are benefits to all parties involved in having the information.

“This project is one of a number of academic-related initiatives the University has undertaken in partnership with the Highlanders over the past three and a-half years, and showcases the positive relationship between the Highlanders and the University.

“The project has the added advantage of providing real-life learning for students, who may go on to undertake similar studies in their working careers.”

For more information, please contact:

Dr John Guthrie
Senior Lecturer in Marketing, University of Otago Business School
Tel: 64 3 479 8159


Dr Mathew Parackal
Senior Lecturer in Marketing, University of Otago Business School
Tel: +64 3 479 7696

A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

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