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Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2016

Give Hong Kong rugby sevens the star-studded opening show it deserves

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 April, 2016, 5:03pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 April, 2016, 5:12pm

The Hong Kong Sevens is the city’s biggest annual sporting party that showcases world-class rugby with a creative and entertaining atmosphere in the stands.

Part of the humorous fun at this year’s “Reinventville Sevens” was the amateurish entertainment provided by a reinvented David Hasselhoff. To his credit, he picked the right place to reinvent himself – reinventing oneself is something Hong Kong and Hongkongers do repeatedly. I hope Hasselhoff will continue to reinvent himself, but preferably not as headline entertainer at the Sevens, with an opening act featuring Abba tribute band Bjorn Again singing cover songs.

Hong Kong has some of the best-performing artists, agents, managers and promoters in Asia, who know and work with their world-renowned counterparts.

Why then do Hong Kong’s traditional colonial clubs, business elites, sponsors and “wannabe” entertainment promoters insist on – and continue – imposing their amateurish knowledge and experience on us, at the expense of the city’s immense local talent and to worldwide guffaws?

Hong Kong has lost its cutting-edge entertainment mojo when it comes to music, movies and entertainment in general. Asia’s “World Entertainment City”, that gave the world Canto-pop extravaganzas, Bruce Lee and the pioneering free-to-air television station ATV, appears to have died a slow death.

The amateurish staging, lighting, sound and emptiness of the vast, vacant and abandoned football pitch, surrounding a stage that was smaller than can be found in many nightclubs in Hong Kong, fronted by dancing stewardesses, muffled and drowned out by boisterous rugby fans, was a world-class embarrassment.

Isn’t it time the Hong Kong Rugby Union and Sevens sponsors focus on the entertainment in the same way many other sporting clubs that put on annual world-class sporting parties do? Think of the Super Bowl in America and World Cup soccer wherever it is played as the gold standard.

A Canto-rock extravaganza à la the Coachella music festival in California or Austin City Limits festival in Texas – that can be the opening act of the Sevens. It can feature Hong Kong’s home-grown talent and some big-name foreign acts, staged and choreographed across the entire football pitch. This will be a show that enhances the value of the Hong Kong Sevens and can be sold to all media worldwide – just like the Super Bowl and World Cup are.

Such a show can be staged in Hong Kong and promoted worldwide – one that can go on China’s new Silk Road marketing reinvention.

Peter G. de Krassel, Sai Kung