Unprecedented Rugby Sevens hosting interest boosts Olympic Games preparation

by RUGBY.com.au staff

The International Rugby Board has confirmed an unprecedented level of interest in hosting elite international Rugby Sevens events, underscoring the enormous global appeal of the newest Olympic sport.

As the expression of interest deadline closed on February 28, 25 Unions formally confirmed to the IRB their interest in hosting a round of the popular HSBC Sevens World Series from the 2015/16 season. Australia has registered its interest.

Twelve of the Unions are also interested in hosting the showcase men’s and women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2018.

There has also been an increase in interest at national and local government level, which has made Sevens hosting more accessible in both established and developing Rugby markets.

IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “This unprecedented response truly reflects the enormous prestige and appeal of Rugby Sevens in the global sporting market place ahead of our Rio 2016 Olympic Games debut.

“The submission features a blend of interest from every continent and includes existing and emerging Rugby markets. It reaffirms Rugby Sevens as a young, exciting and thriving sport that is reaching out, engaging and inspiring new audiences around the world.

"International Rugby Sevens is truly competitive, showcasing great skill and speed to full, vibrant stadia and strong and ever-growing global broadcast audiences and that is why we believe that Rugby Sevens will be a great fit for the Olympic Games and also why the Olympic Games will be great for Rugby.

“We look forward to collaborating with each interested party as we look ahead to the next phase of the process.”

The deadline for tender submissions for Unions interested in hosting Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 is December 5, 2014 with IRB Council selecting the winning bid at its May 2015 meeting. The deadline for formal tender submissions for hosting a Sevens World Series tournament is set for June 27, 2014 and the 2015/16 Series hosts will be selected by IRB EXCO in October 2014.

The dual process follows a detailed strategic review of Rugby World Cup Sevens and the Sevens World Series hosting models and key overall considerations include growing hosting and participation opportunities for the 119 IRB Member Unions, tournament format, increasing Sevens-related global commercial model values, and for the series specifically, the number of events in the calendar.

The full list of Unions that have expressed an interest to tender for IRB Sevens World Series 2015/16 is: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, England, Fiji, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Kenya, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, USA, Wales.

The list of Unions that have expressed an interest to tender for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 is: England, Fiji, Hong Kong, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, USA, Wales.