New Zealand’s biggest sporting tournament now has its very own TV channel, with the launch of AIMS TV for the 13th-annual NZCT AIMS Games in Tauranga.
The intermediate-aged tournament, which will feature 9300 athletes from 271 schools competing in 21 sporting codes, will have a range of live-streamed events running through the week of September 4-9, hosted on NZME’s www.nzherald.co.nz website.
A daily highlights package will also screen, with organisers beefing up bandwidth this year in preparation.
“After launching live-streaming last year, having a dedicated TV channel seemed the logical next step and this will let us showcase more of the amazing competitors, supporters and officials involved in our tournament,” tournament director Vicki Semple explained. “The interest in the tournament was extraordinary last year – at one stage, we thought we’d broken the internet – and our tournament website had more than 3 million hits. We’re grateful to NZME for supporting our live-streaming this year and can’t wait to show the world what the NZCT AIMS Games is all about.”
The scale of the tournament continues to astound organisers, with the 9300 entries a huge jump from last year’s record-breaking 8011 entries.
There is even an international flavour to competition this year, with two schools from the Cook Islands (Nukutere and Apii Avarua) and Liahona High School in Tonga sending a total of 12 badminton players, with help from Badminton Oceania.
BMX, canoe slalom and Futsal are the three new sports introduced this year; the latter, a modified version of football with five players on an indoor pitch, has attracted 276 players in its first year, while BMX (89) and canoe slalom (31) have also made healthy starts.
The big numbers are in netball, 9-aside football and hockey, however, with 1344 netballers from 112 teams making it one of New Zealand’s largest netball tournaments at any level.
Football players have also cracked through the 1000-barrier, with 1232 players from 88 teams, while between the 11-aside and 6-aside divisions, hockey has 1040 players. Rugby sevens (840), basketball (888) and cross country (772) are the next biggest sports, while 648 students have signed on to compete in the Performance Group challenges.
The 2016 AIMS Games will run from September 4-9 at a range of venues across the Western Bay of Plenty. The premier sporting event for 11, 12 and 13 year olds is a strategic partnership between Sport Bay of Plenty, Tauranga City Council and the four Bay of Plenty intermediate schools.
An economic benefit study in 2014 found the tournament generated 37,500 visitor nights and contributed $1.96 million to the local economy, while it was also recognised for event excellence at the annual Sport New Zealand Sport and Recreation Awards in Auckland last year.