Rugby Sevens

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 February, 2008, 12:00am

Fans promised a good time and great memories

The thousands of beer drinking fans at this year's Hong Kong Rugby Sevens will be in for a treat that is worth waiting for, according to Lee Bailey, Guinness's front man from Britain.

'We have signed on for three years as the official beer supplier to the Hong Kong Sevens, starting in 2008. The fans go to the sevens expecting a good time, and our beer will provide that,' Mr Bailey said.

The annual rugby extravaganza - on March 28-30 - is crucial to the Dublin-headquartered company's bid to raise its profile in Hong Kong.

While the beer has a big presence in bars in Wan Chai and Lan Kwai Fong, it is generally not regarded as a favourite among local drinkers.

'The Hong Kong Sevens will provide us an ideal platform to increase our market share in town and also help us raise our profile. While Guinness has been out-performing other beers, the beer market in Hong Kong is generally flat. We hope the Sevens can boost our sales and presence,' Mr Bailey said.

'Rugby is an excellent vehicle to promote our beer. In the UK, we have been sponsors of the Guinness Premiership since 2005.

'We also back the London Irish team. It was just natural that we become sponsors of the Hong Kong Sevens, one of the best tournaments in the world,' explained Mr Bailey, a former rugby player.

'I was at the Hong Kong Sevens for the first time in 2006. I was with my dad and brother and we had such a great time. It will be even more fun this year with our sponsorship,' Mr Bailey said.

Guinness will ship in special consignments of the beer for the event from Dublin. It will be draught beer. 'We will make sure we don't run out of beer,' Mr Bailey said.

'It will be one big party over the 21/2 days of the Sevens. The crowd can expect a lot of interaction.

'Our goal will be to provide the fans with an experience. I'm confident that they will all go away from the Sevens having had a great time and with great memories,' Mr Bailey said.