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FIFA Women's World Cup New Zealand 2023

FIFA Women's World Cup 2023

How you do you implement a successful media strategy during a major, global event? Here's how we put Wellington on the world stage during the 2023 Women's World Cup.

Football fever took over Wellington this winter as the city hosted the world’s biggest-ever female sporting event – the FIFA Women's World Cup.

The capital hosted the Sweden and South African teams throughout the tournament and nine matches at the Wellington Regional Stadium, attracting more than 231,000 spectators. As tens of thousands of fans descended on the city, so did the world’s media, which is where Thorn PR came in as the media and communications manager for the tournament in Wellington.

Our brief was to tell Wellington’s story and put it on the front page (and in the headlines) while building excitement before and during tournament time.

In the space of a few weeks, our team achieved:

·       60 headlines about Wellington across 24 international media outlets

·       Rolling primetime coverage across all major news outlets, including the entire front page of The Post

·       Positive headlines about the economic benefits to the city

·       Placement of affirming stories about the impact and influence of of wāhine on Te Whanganui a-tara

Front page of The Post

And it wasn’t just the media visiting the city; visiting celebrities and dignitaries also wanted to experience everything Wellington. Our team helped coordinate and manage media for visits by Australian PM Anthony Albanese and the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken.

How did we make Wellington stand out in a noisy market?

Before the World Cup kicked off, we knew we needed to find the city’s point of difference and make sure it was captivating enough to turn the heads of visiting media and compelling enough to make national headlines.

Our media strategy was built around finding unique angles, thinking like a journalist and writing like one, too.

We anticipated every possible situation – good or bad – and planned a response.

We ensured the media had everything they needed – whether it was a colourful background, an informed spokesperson or an answer to any question they had.

The takeaway

Wellington caught the attention of major publications like The New York Times, Reuters, and The Athletic. The Guardian even gave Wellington a nod as a host city, saying, ‘the ambience and beauty of New Zealand’s capital was something else”.

Media strategies for major events don’t need to be complicated to be successful and get cut through. Our advice? Keep it simple, be accessible and tell some damn cool stories.
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