Relaxed Level 1 restrictions a confidence boost for Kiwi sports event organisers

When Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gave some further details today on what restrictions at Alert Level 1 – or the lack thereof – will look like, there may not have been a happier man than DUCO Events founder David Higgins.

Ms Ardern outlined this afternoon the news that all event promoters wanted to hear; no requirement for physical distancing in workplaces or public places and all gatherings of any size could occur.

It was both music to Higgins’ ears and a massive sigh of relief.

“I think it's the best case scenario for the event industry, which is on its knees at the moment,” he told 1 NEWS.

“We would’ve survived for another six months maybe.”

The Level 1 rules, along with a new Covid-19 code for ticket-tracing, are likely to come in next week, which means a Joseph Parker comeback here in New Zealand in late August is now the target.

But Higgins admits it’ll be a challenge.

“Events are risky. They often lose money and that was before Covid,” Higgins said.

“Now its even more risky because the public have less money and a lot of people are scared to go out again.”

Higgins already has plans in place with partnerships and promotion of New Zealand ticked off and Parker’s UK promoter Eddie Hearn on board for a fight here.

It’s understood Queenstown could be in line to host the bout but more will be revealed at a later date.

Level 1 also means hope for international events here like the ASB Classic.

Tournament organiser Karl Budge told 1 NEWS they will do whatever it takes to get top tennis talent on New Zealand shores at the start of next year.

“We want to create the halo off how well-positioned we are,” Budge said.

“We're probably not in a position to contract at this point, but at least we're firmly front of mind.

“We're well positioned to capitalise off it.”