Former Black Caps captain goes ‘all out’ to promote the Cricket World Cup

Former Black Caps captain Stephen Fleming is working with Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) to help promote New Zealand in the lead-up to the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup. 

To mark the 100-day countdown to the opening match at Christchurch's Hagley Oval on 14 February 2015, Stephen is currently travelling through India and Sri Lanka with a 15-strong delegation on a Cricket World Cup leveraging mission.

The mission's delegation, made up of senior business leaders and government representatives, arrived in India on 2 November and will spend a week promoting New Zealand as a world-class holiday destination, as well as a trustworthy business environment that is welcoming of international investment.

Endorsement from popular celebrities can have a strong impact on people's awareness of a destination, and influence their decision-making process when booking their next trip.

Stephen is a well-known figure in India as he currently coaches Mumbai's Chennai Super Kings, recent winners of the 2014 Champions League Twenty20 in Bangalore.

Justin Watson, Tourism New Zealand's Director of Trade, PR and Major Events, says that having Stephen on the mission is a real coup:

"As former Black Caps Captain and current coach of the Chennai Super Kings, Stephen is the ideal person to generate buzz for the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup and the great experiences that await travellers in New Zealand.

"Not only is cricket India's number one sport, we recognise the country presents significant tourism growth opportunities. The world cup presents the perfect opportunity to capitalise on these and the leveraging mission is an ideal way to show Indians what New Zealand has to offer if they come over for the tournament in 2015."

Stephen will be kept busy over the next few days, with a packed schedule including media appearances for more than 20 outlets in New Delhi and Mumbai, a Google Hangout Q&A session for fans and even a cricket match with well-known Indian blogger, Miss Malini, which will appear online and on TV.

The 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup is the biggest sporting event to hit New Zealand's backyards next year - with 26 matches shared across seven New Zealand cities. The tournament will be broadcast to more than 180 counties.

Not only is cricket India's number one sport, we recognise the country presents significant tourism growth opportunities

Big sporting events like this not only encourage die-hard fans to travel, but can also motivate those already dreaming of visiting New Zealand to go out and book their trip, says Justin.

"With a global television audience of more than one billion people, the tournament will showcase New Zealand to key international markets and may serve as a catalyst for active considerers in certain regions."

In addition to India, TNZ has been stepping up its market activity in the UK, where cricket plays an important role in the national psyche.

In July this year, a photo call with New Zealand cricket legend Sir Richard Hadlee and a giant cricket ball at Lords was effective in raising awareness of New Zealand co-hosting the Cricket World Cup. This was followed up by a series of radio and print interviews, with coverage reaching 7.5 million people, resulting in an equivalent advertising value of NZ$242,853.

Further activity in the UK market will include a cricket-related activation on a stand at the World Travel Market (the UK's biggest travel trade show, which takes place 3-6 November), and an IMP visit from a journalist from The Sun in December this year, who will be writing a piece on road trips in New Zealand linked to the Cricket World Cup.

This Thursday also marks the start of ICC Cricket World Cup trophy tour across New Zealand and Australia.

Read more on our major sports events strategy.