Sevens ticket prices may rise to HK$1,000

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 April, 2007, 12:00am

Sevens fans were warned yesterday they may have to pay more for their tickets next year.

'There may be some pressure on us to raise the price of tickets,' Hong Kong Rugby Football Union chairman Trevor Gregory said.

But he ruled out having two Hong Kong Sevens in one year - as suggested by a reader in a letter to the South China Morning Post this week. 'No way,' Gregory said.

An adult ticket was priced at HK$880 this year. But with the huge demand - tickets were sold out in December - the HKRFU might be tempted to raise the price, possibly to HK$1,000 for next year's tournament.

'Our main revenue earners during the Sevens are the sale of tickets, the renting out of corporate boxes and the sale of merchandise. As far as the first two go, we are somewhat limited by the size of the Hong Kong Stadium,' Gregory said.

It is understood the cost of the 99 corporate boxes was up four-fold this year - between HK$100,000 and HK$400,000 depending on the size and number of seats. Figures are secret, but a conservative estimate on the sale of corporate boxes was around HK$30 million. Meanwhile, the sale of tickets for the general public as well as those for the local rugby community would have raked in at least another HK$30 million.

'We will have to look at how we can make the Hong Kong Sevens better next year,' Gregory said. 'But I can say definitely this was one of the best, if not the best-ever, Sevens. And part of this is due to the quality of the rugby on the pitch.'

Post reader Howard Cowley, who has attended the Sevens for more than 20 years, suggested that since the event was a 'win-win situation for everyone - airlines, hotels, pubs, clubs, restaurants, shops and, not least, the government itself - why not double the enjoyment'.

Gregory laughed at that proposal: 'Clearly your reader doesn't have to organise the tournament. We [the organisers] are very happy with the outcome of the 2007 event. But we are also a very tired bunch.'

The HKRFU had plans to hold two sevens tournament in 2009 - one the World Cup and the other the annual Sevens. But the International Rugby Board, which will decide the 2009 host this month, poured cold water on Hong Kong's bid.

'The rules of the IRB tender were the host union must hold the World Cup before July 2009, and also if they were a leg of the existing IRB Sevens series that event should go on, too. This put us in a fix,' said Gregory. 'Our tournament is always held in March. If we had to hold a World Cup event before July in 2009, that would have placed a lot of strain on our sponsors and our infrastructure.'

Amsterdam, Melbourne, Moscow and Dubai are in the running to stage the 2009 World Cup.