Wellington Sevens organisers have rubbished claims that just four per cent of tickets have sold for this year’s rugby event in New Zealand.

A media report suggested that just 1,300 tickets had been sold by mid-December for the event, which takes place over two days at the end of January. That would account for just four per cent of all available tickets, which went on sale in September.

Wellington Sevens, which is played at the 34,500-capacity WestPac Stadium, was once a major highlight of the sporting year in New Zealand. However, fewer than half of the seats were sold for last year’s event.

Dwindling ticket numbers led to organisers overhauling the marketing of the event and pricing, with the tournament now inclusive of a more family-friendly crowd.

“Ticket sales are up on the same point as last year, and we are looking forward to an even larger crowd at the stadium at the end of January,” general manager Steve Dunbar told the Newshub news agency.

“It really is a party for all. We are confident locals and others will see that the event has grown to become a live sports entertainment they can be proud of, and would like to see become iconic again.”

Wellington Sevens is part of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, an annual series of 10 international rugby sevens tournaments run by World Rugby featuring national sevens teams.

Wellington’s deputy mayor Paul Eagle said the event did have a future in the nation’s capital, but admitted that its future is being questioned.

“Look, it’s grim reading,” Eagle told Radio Sport, according to the New Zealand Herald. “But I still think there is an opportunity for repositioning the event. I’m not prepared to let it die just yet.”