The Hong Kong Sevens 2023 rugby tournament attracted over 23,000 attendees on its opening night, and organisers have revealed the event’s positive impact.
This year’s tournament took place from March 31 to April 2 at Hong Kong Stadium.
Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) chief executive Robbie McRobbie told Rugby Asia 24/7: “We’ve been very happy with the tournament and the typical Scottish drizzly weather on day one was a bit unfortunate but it didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of the 23,000 crowd who turned up and there was a really good buzz around the stadium.”
The event returned to its spring slot after its ‘return event’ in November last year following the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s event saw New Zealand men’s and women’s teams secure a tournament double.
McRobbie also highlighted the impact the event has for the HKRU, as well as local businesses and vendors within the stadium.
He said: “I think that in terms of the larger impact on the city, we’ve already seen that. One has to remember that the event is hugely important for the HKRU – it generates 95% of our revenue. But one can’t forget all of the associated businesses and people whose livelihoods depend on the events industry – who again – have had a very, very tough three years.
“Everything within the stadium, the people who are selling the beer, and selling the hot dogs, to have this event back has already had a massive positive impact on people’s livelihoods. People who have been either not working or certainly not earning the same level of income that they would normally do in a non-pandemic situation.”
He added: “This has been very important. And this whole month for Hong Kong with Clockenflap, international golf, and international cricket next week. It’s such a relief for all of us to see, not just the Sevens, but the sports and event industry back on its feet in Hong Kong.”
Next year’s Hong Kong Sevens will be the last tournament to take place at Hong Kong Stadium, before an expected move to Kai Tak Sports Park in 2025.
In 2022 it was revealed that the sports and entertainment precinct, which will be anchored by a 50,000-seat stadium, was facing delays of up to a year.
Last year, HKRU also announced it would be utilising Tixserve’s digital ticket delivery solution, to implement digital ticketing for events.