Big names assembled for opening event

16 December 2014

Christchurch is to host a unique and spectacular opening for ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 on Thursday 12 February next year, with the free, family-friendly event to feature appearances by Sol3 Mio, Ginny Blackmore and Hayley Westenra, as well as cricketing legends Sir Richard Hadlee, Stephen Fleming and New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum.

A full line up will be announced early in the New Year.

Tournament co-hosts Australia will stage their opening event in Melbourne on the same evening.

The New Zealand event will be held in Christchurch’s North Hagley Park just two days out from the opening match of the tournament between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at nearby Hagley Oval.

Head of New Zealand for ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Therese Walsh said: "We’ve planned an opening event that will appeal to all ages and one which provides a chance for the people of Christchurch to come down to Hagley Park and celebrate their city’s important role in the tournament."

"The opening event will focus the eyes of the world on Christchurch. It's a massive opportunity and I believe the event we have planned and the performers and players we have on board will provide the ideal way to welcome the world to the city and to the massive occasion that is ICC Cricket World Cup 2015."

The opening event is being produced by tournament organisers and New Zealand Cricket with the financial support of the New Zealand Government. It will start at 6.30pm with a giant game of backyard cricket. Targeted primarily at families, this will feature local cricket teams, roving entertainers, and New Zealand cricketing heroes. The main event will then run from 8.30pm to 10.00pm and comprise five segments:

  • The Welcome – produced in partnership with Ngai Tahu, this will use music and light to welcome visiting teams and fans.
  • The Christchurch Story – a visual display, accompanied by a 100-strong youth choir, which depicts the story of the city’s rebuild.
  • Come and play in my backyard – based around a young child with dreams of cricketing stardom, this will feature live and video appearances by a number of New Zealand sporting and cultural legends.
  • Ceremonial speeches and tournament opening – featuring ICC officials and some of the participating teams, including New Zealand.
  • Party and fireworks – performances by some of New Zealand's top musical acts and one the biggest fireworks displays ever hosted in Christchurch.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said: "2015 is a huge year for Christchurch - it's where it's all happening! It will kick-off with the ICC Cricket World Cup opening event on 12 February and I know Christchurch residents will get right in behind this. Traditionally we support big events in our city, but this will be even bigger. Attending the opening of a sporting world cup is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our residents."

The opening events in both Christchurch and Melbourne will form part of a broadcast package to be televised around the world by Star Sports and its licensees. In New Zealand, the opening event will be broadcast on Sky Sports and free-to-air on Prime.
CEO of Sky Television John Fellet said: "The ICC Cricket World Cup is one of the hottest sports events of 2015, and SKY’s live coverage starts with the opening event. SKY Sport will also have a dedicated World Cup channel where fans can watch all 49 games of the tournament live."

"New Zealand cricket fans will also be able to enjoy full coverage of the opening event free-to-air on Prime, which will also provide live coverage of opening match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka on 14 February."

Further details on the opening event, including the full line-up, parking and public access information will be announced later in the summer.

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 will be co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia, with 49 matches to be played between 14 February and 29 March. There are seven host cities in New Zealand: Auckland, Hamilton, Napier, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin. Tickets start at $5 for children and $20 for adults, and are available now from: